CLIENT CATALOGUE: Christi Belcourt’s “Water Song” in “Art in Canada” catalogue by the National Gallery of Canada

My New Year’s present to myself was a copy of the National Gallery of Canada’s Art in Canada catalogue.

This magnificent hardcover publication commemorates 150 years of Confederation with a selection of 150 works of art made in Canada, drawn mainly from the Gallery’s remarkable collection from the late seventeenth century to the present day. In his candid discussion, NGC Director Marc Mayer offers a fresh perspective on how art reflects our shared history while helping to articulate Canada’s identity. Mayer traces our cultural development in the years since Confederation, while raising provocative questions about the role of the country.

The book, edited by NGC director Marc Mayer, includes many of my favourite works in the NGC collection, one of which is Water Song, a work by client Christi Belcourt ( The work was originally in the Sakahàn exhibition, the NGC’s 2013 show that was an extensive overview of contemporary Indigenous art that gathered together artists from around the globe. Christi’s work was one of the NGC’s acquisitions from that show. It’s a colossal canvass that like all her large paintings draws you into the visuals that present an Indigenous worldview. Christi has a way of representing ‘all our relations’ that encourages the viewer to pause, linger, and hopefully consider the message of her work.

Other favourites in this book are Robert Houle’s Kanata (1992), Paul-Émile Borduas’ 3+4+1 (1956), Shuvinai Ashoona’s Untitled (Eden)(2008) and A Brief History of Northwest Coast Design (2007) by Luke Parnell that was part of the 2015 Biennial, Shine a Light (read Canada, My How You’ve Change on Mixed Bag Mag).

This book is an interesting interpretation of the visual iconography that defines Canada as seen through the eyes of Mayer.

Purchase a copy of the catalogue here.

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