Expanding the Circle [Art Gallery of Hamilton]

Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton is the oldest and largest public art gallery in southwestern Ontario. Its permanent collection, which is focused on historical Canadian, 19th-century European and Contemporary art, now numbers more than 10,000 works and is recognized as one of the finest in Canada.

The AGH is a vital creative hub and centre of lifelong learning that enables people of all ages to enrich their lives by gaining a deeper understanding of art.

Gallery Hours: ​Tuesday & Wednesday 11am - 6pm; Thursday 11am - 8pm; 
Friday 11am - 6pm; Saturday & Sunday 12 noon - 5pm


Expanding the Circle

Robert Davidson and the Ancient Language of Haida Art

On view February 11, 2017 to May 28, 2017
Organized and circulated in part by the McCord Museum, Montreal

OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, February 11, 3:00 - 5:00pm 
Artist will be in attendance.

Robert Davidson Xyaalang (Dancing) 2013 

"If we look at the world in the form of a circle, let us look at what is on the inside of the circle as experience, culture and knowledge. Let us look at this as the past. What is outside of the circle is yet to be experienced. But in order to expand the circle we must know what is inside the circle. It has been the art that has brought us back to our roots. I am proud to be one of those people chosen to put the puzzle back together and move on. The challenge is ours to keep expanding the circle." - Robert Davidson

Just off Canada's North Pacific coast is a series of islands called Haida Gwaii, which have been home to the Haida people for more than 10,000 years. For generations, this Indigenous culture has produced some of the world's most visually stunning and intellectually complex forms of art. On their lush island home off the Northwest Coast, Haida have fashioned a world of outstanding artistic expression, one that sustained them through near annihilation in the late 19th century. This exhibition shines a light on one strand of their rich heritage by presenting an outstanding selection of historic Haida artworks. 

In the past, as today, Haida artists could be male or female. Their creative output was astonishing - carved and painted chests, lifelike masks, finely woven baskets, complex songs and dances, intricate tattoo designs, imposing totem poles. This exhibition presents over seventy works that explore themes fundamental to Haida life and culture including potlatch ceremonies, performance, the power of transformation, and ceremonial art. Contemporary Haida artists are constantly exploring the ancient language of their art; it is the foundation on which new endeavours are built and the grammar with which future histories are written. In the organization of this exhibition, the McCord Museum worked with renowned Haida artist Robert Davidson to guide the selection of historic artworks and discuss their significance. As such, the entirety of historical objects in this exhibition is drawn from the collection of the McCord Museum, with Davidson's insights woven into the exhibition commentary. 

For the presentation of this exhibition in Hamilton, we are thrilled to include work by Davidson in conjunction with these historical objects. A selection of his painting and sculpture, many never before exhibited, has been selected with the artist in order to bring this artistic conversation to the present day and to highlight the work of this magnificent Canadian painter.

AGH Talk and film screening Friday, February 10
Talk: Art on the Haida Gwaii with Robert Davidson at 7:00pm
Film: Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World at 9:00pm

The Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King Street West, Hamilton
905.527.6610 or email info@artgalleryofhamilton.com


Saturday, February 11, 2017 (All day) to Sunday, May 28, 2017 (All day)
Friday, February 10, 2017 - 19:00 to 22:00
Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King St West, Hamilton, ON