Programs

October 2015

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Posted by: Rachel Roy on October 27, 2015 at 11:50 am

Input from Aboriginal community members is integral to the process of creating usable and culturally meaningful built spaces for people in their daily lives.

At MOV’s Built City Talk on October 8, architects Lola Sheppard, Luugigyoo Patrick Reid Stewart, and city planner and analyst William Trousdale provided insightful thoughts on their work with aboriginal communities. Most revealing were their ideas on how architecture has a lot to learn from the communities they serve.  Lola and William spoke humbly of careful listening and looking that needs to take place. This involves adapting and translating the ideas discussed with aboriginal communities into built form. Central to their discussion was thinking about how people will use buildings over a season, and the best positioning for building entrances and overall structures on the land.

 

 

Lola acknowledged that the history of Nunavut is immersed in colonialism which can be visibly seen in the southern architecture of the buildings—she emphasizes that this was not nearly as dynamic as the culture it was trying to serve.

Lola reinforced this point with a powerful message voiced by Sheila Watt-Cloutier from The Right to be Cold (2006):

“We are an adaptable people. We’ve had to be. We’ve weathered this storm of modernization fairly well - going from dog teams to snowmobiles, and flying jumbo jets and going from igloo huts to permanent homes, and of course, going from our environment - which is our supermarket - to now having supermarket-like stores in communities - all within a few decades. This has not been without consequences.”

 

 

As Patrick explained, the federal government tried to impose Canadian culture and buildings on the landscape. This is evident in the southern style architecture that still dominates many parts of Nunavut.

 

 

As an architect who is proudly representing his aboriginal heritage, Patrick sees indigenous cultural practices, such as basket weaving, as inspirational concepts for architects building for and with First Nations communities as it speaks to their identity. Patrick is an architect who acts as a facilitator and designs with and for aboriginal communities.

Similarly, Lola engages in careful listening and learning about the land with communities, and views this as crucial for developing new architectural structures for people in Nunavut.

Lola views the Inuit culture as incredibly dynamic – people in Nunavut are living in a radically changing region climatically, economically, and culturally. For instance, youth learn how to hunt with their elders, as well as engage online using social media tools and technology to create and share their own hip-hop music. Lola suggests that this forms part of an emerging urbanism in Nunavut, and she continues to contemplate the future role of architecture in this.

 

 

Lola poses this intriguing question: Can architecture be used as a tool of empowerment for aboriginal communities in the Arctic? Through a project she worked on with students, Nunavut-based organizations, Inuit community members, local artists, and architects based in the north, future spaces are imagined for Nunavut cities and towns to try and address their daily needs.

MOV invites you to come explore architecture’s future role for Nunavut in Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 until December 13th, 2015.


Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 has been organized and curated by Lateral Office, with the support of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. It is presented and coordinated by the Winnipeg Art Gallery with assistance from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage, and presenting sponsor Manulife.

Le cabinet Lateral Office a dirigé et organisé l’exposition intitulée Adaptations à l’Arctique : Nunavut à 15 ans, avec l’aide de l’Institut royal d’architecture du Canada, et du Conseil des arts du Canada. Le Musée des beaux-arts de Winnipeg se chargera de la tournée avec le soutien du Programme d’aide aux musées du ministère du Patrimoine canadien, et du commanditaire principal Manuvie.

 

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Posted by: Marketing on October 16, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Today was a very special day for the team that created c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City. The collaborative series of exhibitions was recognized at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, where the curators were presented with  the 2015 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Museums, by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.

The award recognizes individuals or institutions that have made remarkable contributions to a better knowledge of Canadian history. This year’s winning project is c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City. The exhibition tells the story of c̓əsnaʔəm, one of the largest ancient Musqueam villages and burial sites upon which Vancouver was built. It was jointly curated by the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at UBC, Musqueam First Nation, and Susan Roy from the University of Waterloo.

“Winning such a prestigious national award is a testament to the hard work, creativity and perseverance of the curatorial teams,” says Nancy Noble, CEO of MOV. “This important exhibition has allowed the Museum to confront its own colonial past, acknowledging the actions of our predecessors and hopefully, in some small way, reconciling the many misconceptions about the Musqueam people, their history and their continued contributions to Vancouver and Canadian society.”

The three-location exhibition intends to generate public discussion about indigenous history, and to raise awareness of the significance of c̓əsnaʔəm for the Musqueam people and for Vancouver. The ancient village of c̓əsnaʔəm was founded about 5,000 years ago at what was then the mouth of the Fraser—the southern border of today’s Marpole neighbourhood.

“c̓əsnaʔəm was a place where families lived and put their people to rest and was a sophisticated society. That’s why the exhibit is called ‘The City Before the City,’ says Jordan Wilson of the MOA and co-curator of the exhibition. “All too often there’s a picture painted of these villages as quite small and primitive, but in fact it was quite a large site, and the Musqueam people played a significant role in shaping the City of Vancouver.”

“Museums are no longer just passive buildings that store old objects. They play an active role in sharing new knowledge,” says Janet Walker, President and CEO of Canada’s History Society, which administers the award. “c̓əsnaʔəm, The City Before the City is a perfect example of how a museum exhibition can counter an existing narrative—that Vancouver is a young city of immigrants—and replace it with a more truthful version of events. In this way, museums help shape our future as well as our past.”

The joint exhibition opened earlier this year at the Museum of Vancouver, the Museum of Anthropology and the Musqueam Cultural Centre, and continues through January 2016. Each location explores different aspects of c̓əsnaʔəm, through artifacts—collected mainly in the 1920s and ‘30s—and new technologies such as 3-D printing.

You can find more information about the exhibition at www.thecitybeforethecity.com.