National Gallery of Canada Foundation Receives $2 Million Gift to Endow Gallery’s Indigenous Art Curatorial Chair
First Chair to be endowed at the Gallery
OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Dec. 11, 2007) – The National Gallery of Canada Foundation announced today the creation of the Audain Curator of Indigenous Art Endowment which has been made possible through a gift of $2 million from the Audain Foundation. This is the second time in less than two years that the British Columbia-based Audain Foundation has made a gift of such magnitude to the National Gallery and its Foundation.The first Chair to be endowed at the National Gallery of Canada, the Audain Curator of Indigenous Art is responsible for exhibitions, acquisitions, loans, research, and publishing in relation to the care and promotion of the collection of Indigenous Art. The National Gallery of Canada appointed Greg A. Hill as Curator and head of the department earlier this year.
“I wish to thank the Audain Foundation most sincerely, particularly Michael Audain and his wife, Yoshiko Karasawa, for their great generosity to the National Gallery of Canada and future generations of Canadians,” said Pierre Theberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada. “This endowment will ensure that we can carry out a full range of curatorial activities for this increasingly important area of our collection, now and in the longer term. It also demonstrates to Indigenous artists that their work is valued by the National Gallery of Canada.”
Michael Audain, Chair of the Audain Foundation and a long-time cultural philanthropist, who has served on the Gallery’s Board of Trustees since 2005 said, “The art of the First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples has always been a vital part of the visual art traditions of Canada and it deserves to be more celebrated. The National Gallery’s new department of Indigenous Art will play a key role in this regard and we are pleased that our Foundation is able to support it.”
“We are very grateful for this remarkable gift, which we believe to be the single largest endowment established to support the preservation, promotion and understanding of Indigenous art across Canada,” said Marie Claire Morin, President and CEO of the National Gallery Foundation. “We deeply appreciate this generosity.” In June 2006, the Audain Foundation donated a further $2 million dollars to the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, which facilitated the creation of the Audain Endowment for Contemporary Canadian Art. This was the largest gift ever received by the NGC Foundation at that time. These combined gifts from the Audain Foundation have created a new threshold of $4 million for gifts by a single donor.
The National Gallery’s Indigenous Art collection area includes works of Indigenous artists from around the world with special emphasis on contemporary art produced by First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples in Canada. These works are displayed in the Contemporary Art Galleries, the Inuit Art Galleries, and in the ongoing Art of This Land installation in the Canadian Galleries. Special exhibitions of Indigenous art recently presented by the National Gallery include Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist (2006), which is currently on tour, Inuit Sculpture Now (2006), and Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge (2007).
About the National Gallery of Canada
Founded over a century ago, the National Gallery of Canada has established a reputation for excellence within the international arts community. Its outstanding collections that trace the evolution of art across many cultures and through the centuries. As a result of its own scholarly and popular exhibitions, the Gallery has become a destination of choice for outstanding travelling exhibitions. The mandate of the National Gallery of Canada and its affiliate, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, is to develop, maintain, and make known, throughout Canada and internationally, a collection of works of art, both historic and contemporary, and to further knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment of art in general among Canadians. The Gallery attracts thousands of visitors each year. To find out more about the NGC, visit www.gallery.ca
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
Established in 1997, the National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery and its affiliate, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, in fulfilling their mandates. By fostering strong partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy enables the National Gallery of Canada to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes immediate and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To find out more about the NGC Foundation, visit www.ngcfoundation.ca.
About the Audain Foundation
Established in 1997, The Audain Foundation has made grants to 35 organizations for projects related to the visual arts. Michael Audain, Chairman of the Vancouver-based Polygon Homes Ltd., and his wife, Yoshiko Karasawa, have been active supporters of the arts for over 25 years. Serving on the Vancouver Art Gallery board for many years, including in the role of president, Michael is now Chair of their Foundation. In 2004, Business for the Arts honoured Michael with the Edmund C. Bovey Award for leadership in the arts. He was appointed to the National Gallery of Canada Board of Trustees in 2005 and to the Order of British Columbia in 2007.
Biographical and background information is available on request.
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