Pipe bowl in the form of a bird
[Pipe bowl in the form of a bird]

Despite sitting still in a glass case before you, some artworks never stop moving. They contain histories. They challenge us. They are more than art.
UBC Museum of Anthropology’s In a Different Light contains over 110 historical Indigenous artworks and marks the return of many important works to British Columbia. These objects are amazing artistic achievements, yet they also transcend the idea of ‘art’ or ‘artifact’.

Bracelet by Charles Edenshaw (c. 1839 - 1920)
[Bracelet by Charles Edenshaw]

Through the voices of contemporary First Nations artists and community members, this exhibition (on now through Spring 2019) reflects on the roles historical artworks have today.

Featuring immersive storytelling and innovative design, it explores what we can learn from these works and how they relate to Indigenous peoples’ relationships to their lands.

With the increasing impacts of colonization in the 19th century, many Northwest Coast objects were removed from their communities. As they circulated through museums and private collections, their histories were often lost.


Indigenous community members are now reconnecting with these objects and rebuilding their past. Through their eyes, you’ll come to see these artworks in a different light — as teachers, belongings, even legal documents.

Ultimately, this inaugural exhibition of the Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks highlights the creativity and inventiveness of Northwest Coast artists and how they understood the world they lived in. And critically, it shows us the immense body of knowledge that endures today.

About the Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks

MOA’s groundbreaking new gallery is dedicated to Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast. This elegant and innovative exhibition space pairs cutting-edge technology with an inviting and natural setting that reflects the surrounding environment.

Photos courtesy of UBC Museum of Anthropology.

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