Big changes are underway in MOA's Great Hall, which is receiving seismic upgrades in order to augment its structural integrity. MOA is temporarily closed until June 2024 to accelerate the completion of this complex construction project.
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.”
Every September 30 since 2013 Canadians commemorate Orange Shirt Day, now also known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This important day has been set aside to recognize the legacy of the Canadian Indian residential school system and people are encouraged to wear orange shirts in solidarity.
MOA now has an Orange Shirt Day display in the lobby in honour of the Indigenous children who did not make it home, and for those who are still missing. Visitors can add an orange shirt in solidarity with those who have been, and continue to be, impacted by the Residential School system. There is space for those wishing to write a message, a kind thought, or perhaps a name in honour of a loved one who has been impacted.
“Closer, Closer: Miniatures, Models and Their Stories”
Small objects like miniatures and models carry big meanings and connect people around the world. Portable by size, they are able to travel and tell their stories of history, culture, hard times, and celebration. While they may have been created for several different reasons – for trade, for ceremony, for children – the meanings of these miniatures and models may morph over time as individuals interact with them and place them into new contexts.
This exhibition is located in the Textile Research Room in MOA’s Multiversity Galleries. It was curated by UBC students of ANTH 431: Museum Practice and Curatorship.
Join MOA on Saturday, April 9 for a presentation by local miniature maker Michael Soganic, followed by a show and tell to present your own miniatures. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition. Free with museum admission. Plan your visit.
Image credit: Design courtesy of ANTH 431 class.
Contemporary Art from Afghanistan: Graffiti Works by Shamsia Hassani
Shamsia Hassani شمسیا حسنی (b. Iran, 1988) is regarded as the first female graffiti artist from Afghanistan. Through her art, she aims to colour over the sad memories of wars and to bring positive changes to society. Her work often depicts women in burqas, and fish. When she cannot work on the street, she creates a “dreaming graffiti” by painting on photographic images of her city. What about the Dead Fish? (2011) and Words (2012) were originally painted on building walls in Kabul, Afghanistan while Dreaming Graffiti (2012) is from her “dreaming graffiti series”. Learn more about the artist on her Facebook page.
Image Credit: [MOA collection 3280/3] Words by Shamsia Hassani
Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy From Asia
Asia has an enormous diversity of languages and writing systems. Writing, especially calligraphy, has been a revered art form and has played an important social and political role in Asian traditions ranging from religious texts in Sanskrit to Islamic and Chinese calligraphy. The Asian collection at MOA contains over 18,000 items, about 40 percent of the total holdings, and is the largest collection at the Museum. There is a little known collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Persian calligraphy, as well as various manuscripts such as Southeast Asian palm leaf manuscripts, woodblocks for printing and objects with inscriptions. The items featured in Case 76 in the Multiversity Galleries are the highlights of this collection of approximately 250 items.
Image credit: Shinpan neko no tenarai (New impression: Cats take calligraphy lessons), MOA Collection: N2.1181
Contemporary Korean Art: Wire Sculptures By Key-Sook Geum
Newly acquired works, Blue JangOt (2015) and Dream in Green JoGoRe (2013) by Key-Sook Guem are now on display in Case 73 in Multiversity Galleries. Key-Sook Geum (금기숙) is an artist, fashion designer, and scholar from the Republic of Korea. Having taught and worked in fashion design, Geum combines art with fashion in her exquisite wire sculptures in the shape of women’s clothing.
Guem is inspired by the shapes and styles of clothing from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). They tell stories about the people who wore them: their lives, aesthetics, and philosophies. Blue JangOt (2015) represents the jangot, a veil in the shape of an overcoat worn by noble women during the Joseon Dynasty. Dream in Green JoGoRe (2013) is in the shape of the jeogori, a traditional shirt worn over the chima, a long, sleeveless dress.
Image credit: [MOA collection 3284/2].Dream in Green JoGoRe. Made by Key-Sook Geum.
Rapid Response Case
How should museums respond to current events or issues in the world? MOA started the Rapid Response Case initiative in September 2017, to curate a small display case in the lobby to address pressing issues of the moment by making connections to what we do at MOA.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rapid Response case is not currently on display. Instead we have transitioned it into an online initiative called the Responsive Dialogues series in order to continue promoting constructive social activism that aims to create positive change through digital channels.