Big changes are underway in MOA's Great Hall, which is receiving seismic upgrades in order to augment its structural integrity and help preserve the invaluable cultural significance and living heritage of the world-renowned Northwest Coast First Nations collection housed within it.
The Curatorial department supports initiatives — including research, exhibitions and publishing — that help to build respectful relationships and mutual understanding with cultural communities represented through MOA’s collections.
MOA is committed to promoting awareness and understanding of culturally diverse ways of knowing the world through challenging and innovative programs and partnerships with Indigenous, local and global communities.
MOA supports the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including originating communities’ right to “maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression.”
The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
Carol E. Mayer and Anthony Alan Shelton
This stunning and lavishly illustrated volume highlights 150 treasures from the Museum of Anthropology’s vast collections, which include historic and contemporary carvings, ceramics, sculptures, paintings and textiles from around the world, along with magnificent totem poles, sculptures, carved boxes, feast dishes, baskets and intricate items made of gold, silver and argillite from the northwest coast of B.C. Short histories of each collection and extended captions offer fascinating details.
Where the Power Is: Indigenous Perspectives on Northwest Coast Art
Karen Duffek, Bill McLennan, Jordan Wilson
Where the Power Is: Indigenous Perspectives on Northwest Coast Art brings together contemporary Indigenous knowledge holders with extraordinary works of historical Northwest Coast art, that transcend the category of art or artifact.
Dozens of Indigenous artists and community members visited the Museum of Anthropology to engage with these objects and learn from the hands of their ancestors. The photographs and their commentaries speak to the connections between tangible and intangible cultural belongings; how art remains part of Northwest Coast peoples ongoing relationships to their territories and governance; Indigenous experiences of reconnection, reclamation, and return; and critical and necessary conversations around the role of museums.
Under Different Moons: African Art in Conversations
Anthony Alan Shelton, Nuno Porto, Titilope Salami
Under Different Moons: African Art in Conversations shares – for the first time in print – the Museum of Anthropology at UBC’s extensive African collections. Featuring more than 250 stunning images of masks, puppets, figurative sculpture, textiles and paintings, the book establishes a dialogue between different aspects and ways of interpreting the continent’s rich and diverse art forms. Under Different Moons is part of a wider attempt to bring to public attention, especially that of African and diasporic Canadian communities, parts of an important cultural legacy, safeguarded in museums across the country, that can help empower new sectors and generations of citizens and widen the breadth and understanding of Canada’s multi- and intercultural character.
Bodies of Enchantment: Puppets from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas
For millennia, puppets have enthralled audiences with their unique charm, not just telling stories but enacting history, sharing knowledge, and transmitting cultural practices.
In this dazzling and immersive volume based on an award-winning exhibition, puppetry from all corners of the globe is shared in striking photographs alongside texts from ten scholars and puppeteers. The contributors highlight still-vital traditional puppetry practices, as well as modern adaptations of the form: exquisite leather shadow puppets depict ancient Indian epics in modern-day Indonesia; Taiwan’s long-running Pili glove puppetry show thrives in the digital era and Indigenous filmmaker Amanda Strong uses stop-motion animation to create entrancing new realms.
Theatrum Mundi: Masks and Masquerades in Mexico and the Andes
Anthony Alan Shelton
“Theatrum Mundi” (The Theatre of the World) describes the diversity of masks and performances that originated from the violent struggles between European, Arabic and “New World” civilizations. This authoritative study celebrates over 500 years of Mexican and South American Indigenous dance dramas and explains how mask makers, religious practitioners, masqueraders and entrepreneurs have helped to continuously reinvent, revitalize and express the changing world around them.
A Future for Memory: Art and Life After the Great East Japan Earthquake
A Future for Memory: Art and Life after the Great East Japan Earthquake is a bilingual publication in English and Japanese, accompanying the exhibition of the same name. It features images of works from the exhibition, along with essays by Hiroyasu Yamauchi (The Rias Ark Museum of Art), Osamu Tsukihashi (The Lost Homes project), Munemasa Takahashi (The Lost & Found Project), Kenji Kai and Tomohisa Sato (The center for remembering 3.11), Miki Shiomoto and Megumi Ishimoto (Women’s Eye), Fumihiko Futakami (The Minamisōma City Museum), Chihiro Minato (Photographer), Masao Okabe (Artist), and Atsunobu Katagiri (Ikebana master).
A companion to the 2020 exhibition of the same name, this volume showcases the work of 11 BC-based artists who demonstrate clay’s infinite possibilities: Judy Chartrand, Ying-Yueh Chuang, Gathie Falk, Jeremy Hatch, Ian Johnston, David Lambert, Glenn Lewis, Alywn O’Brien, Bill Rennie, Debra Sloan and Brendan Tang. Individually, the ceramic pieces may appear to be nostalgic, humorous, fragile, beautiful or unassuming, but closer inspection reveals provocative commentary on issues like social injustice, racism, identity and censorship. This catalogue includes artist biographies, key insights, and new stunning photographs to accompany all of the exhibition’s boundary-pushing pieces.
People Among the People: The Public Art of Susan Point
Robert D. Watt
The stunning book celebrates the public art of one of Canada’s most accomplished artists and designers. People Among the People beautifully displays the breadth and depth of Susan Point’s public art—from cast bronze faces in Whistler to massive carved cedar portals in Stanley Park to moulded polymer murals in Seattle. Through interviews and archival access, Robert D. Watt gathers the stories of Point’s public art, often in Point’s own words, to illustrate the vital role she has played in revealing and re-establishing the “Salish footprint” in the Pacific Northwest.
Divine Threads: The Visual and Material Culture of Cantonese Opera
Divine Threads examines the high stakes surrounding Cantonese opera heritage today, especially in regard to historic collections housed in museums around the world. Today, one of the most complete and well-preserved collections of early Cantonese opera, including some 800 objects, is held at MOA. Divine Threads shines a light on the visual and material culture of Cantonese opera as a treasure trove of sacred and auspicious images, stories, songs, and rituals. In tracing these connections, author April Liu analyzes the politics of memory surrounding historic opera troupes and the material traces they left behind.
A companion to the 2017 exhibition, this volume features a stunning selection of works representing a diverse array of cultures, eras, and media, including Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions, Qur’anic manuscripts, Chinese calligraphy, graffiti art from Afghanistan, and contemporary artworks using Japanese calligraphy and Tibetan or Thai scripts. Through different materials – from paper to silk, woodblock to projected screen – these works in turn evoke the ephemeral and the eternal.
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun is one of the most outspoken and influential contemporary artists in Canada today, fusing art and political action in his commitment to advance First Nations rights to the land and effect change. This beautiful volume, produced for the 2016 MOA exhibition Unceded Territories, includes 80 of Yuxweluptun’s paintings from the last three decades, critical essays by local and international scholars, and extensive commentary from exhibit curators Karen Duffek and Tania Willard.
In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man: Contemporary Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Carol E. Mayer
This volume is the definitive catalogue for the 2016 MOA exhibition, In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man, which showcased twenty-seven enthralling wood sculptures by artists from the Sepik River of Papua New Guinea, while delving into the local Iatmul people’s economic, cultural, and spiritual connections to the river system, and the logging and mining operations that pose environmental threats to the region.
Heaven, Hell, and Somewhere in Between: Portuguese Popular Art
Anthony Alan Shelton
A companion to the 2015 MOA exhibition, Heaven, Hell and Somewhere in Between, this volume combines in-depth analysis of Portuguese popular art with stunning photographs. From ceramics, masks, and puppets to medieval frescoes and roadside graffiti, curator Anthony Alan Shelton explores the playful, subversive creations of a nation forever trapped between land and sea, salvation and damnation, penitence and transcendence.
A Discerning Eye: The Walter C. Koerner Collection of European Ceramics
Carol E. Mayer
The Koerner Ceramics Gallery at the Museum of Anthropology houses one of the most exquisite collections of European ceramics in North America. A Discerning Eyehighlights approximately two hundred functional and decorative wares from this collection, paying tribute to the elegant craftsmanship of everyday objects and the complex socio-political forces that shaped Europe from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.
Coined in 1949 by novelist Alejo Carpentier, the term “Marvellous Real” expresses the bizarre amalgamations, improbable juxtapositions, and fantastic correlations manifest in the arts and everyday life of Latin America. Published to coincide with the 2013 MOA exhibition The Marvellous Real: Art from Mexico, 1926 – 2011, this richly illustrated volume explores the blend of beauty and brutality, monotony and magic, captured in the works of over fifty Mexican artists spanning seventy-five years.
Safar Voyage: Contemporary Works by Arab, Iranian, and Turkish Artists
Fereshteh Daftari and Jill Baird
In this companion volume to the 2013 MOA exhibition Safar/Voyage, curators Fereshteh Daftari and Jill Baird construct a journey through the work of eighteen contemporary Arab, Iranian, and Turkish artists. The text – illustrated with over fifty colour photographs, archival images and maps – navigates themes of migration, dislocation, and changing identity and addresses the impact of war and revolution on individuals, communities and culture in this highly contested region of the world.
Available in English and Spanish, and published for the 2012 MOA exhibition Luminescence: the Silver of Peru, this volume illuminates the long history of silverwork and the fascination with the metal’s divine and luminescent qualities. Showcased works range from pre-Columbian times, through the Spanish conquest, to contemporary artists, and include national treasures seldom seen outside of Peru.
In 2012, the Museum of Anthropology presented, Ḱesu’, a retrospective exhibition on the art and life of Kwakwaka’wakw artist Doug Cranmer (1927–2006). A self-proclaimed “whittler” and “doodler,” Cranmer’s understated and elegant style quickly found an international following. Skillfully weaving excerpts from his friends and family, facts about his life and examples of his stunning artwork, this book celebrates Cranmer’s personality, paradoxes and profound influence on generations of Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations artists.
This volume accompanies the 2004 MOA exhibition Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge, which was also on view the National Gallery of Canada from 2005–2007. The exhibition brought together thirty works by acclaimed Haida artist Robert Davidson including paintings, drums, panels, and sculptures, alongside five 19th century Northwest Coast artifacts. This volume, written by exhibition curator Karen Duffek, also features an essay by Robert Houle.
The Potter’s Art: Contributions to the Study of the Koerner Collection of European Ceramics
Carol E. Mayer
Inspired by the celebrated Koerner Ceramics Gallery at the Museum of Anthropology, The Potter’s Art features a variety of critical essays that use the collection as a “mine of stimuli” to explore topics from the collecting process to historical trade, religious persecution to technological innovation. With abundant illustrations, this volume is an important resource for collectors, potters, dealers, students and ceramics enthusiasts.