The exhibition presented thirty paintings and sculptures, including painted compositions on canvas, paper, deerskin drums, and cedar, as well as sculptures in both cedar and aluminum, by Haida artist guud san glans, Robert Davidson. These contemporary works were displayed together with a series of extraordinary nineteenth-century painted objects from the northern Northwest Coast: four feast dishes and a canoe steering paddle. The historical works, drawn from museum collections across Canada and the United States, provided the conceptual foundation for Davidson’s inquiry into Haida concepts of abstraction – the focus of this exhibition.
A specific goal of this exhibition was to advance the critical recognition of First Nations artists engaged in reclaiming the vocabulary and intellectual foundation of their inherited art, and in contributing to its further evolution. Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge made a case for the place of indigenous, community-based knowledge within the realm of contemporary art practice.
Organized by Karen Duffek, Curator of Art at the UBC Museum of Anthropology in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada