An exceptional tool for discovering and understanding cultural diversity in Canada and around the world, past and present, this new wing displays a rich selection from the Museum’s collection, including over 10,000 archaeological objects and works by artists from many different cultures. The Museum’s encyclopedic collection is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Canada.
The 1,025 m2 of the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery wing contain more than 1,500 objects and works by artists who hail from every continent. Located in the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, the largest and most visited of the Museum’s five pavilions, the wing presents treasures from Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Oceania and the Americas dating from the 4th millennium B.C.E. to today. It invites visitors to take a fresh, 360-degree look at our early heritage and contemporary creations. The presentation design goes beyond the discourse of art history to highlight the exchanges that have occurred and continue to occur between cultures, while displaying present-day disciplines and social concerns.
Situated in the heart of a humanist and socially engaged museum, the wing promotes inclusive values that reflect Montreal, a metropolis made up of close to 120 cultural communities. It invites people of different cultures to come together to better understand one another at a time, in this 21st century, when togetherness has become an issue of vital importance.
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The layout of the wing is based around a number of geocultural zones within 10 galleries that communicate with each other via several openings and windows, stimulating a plurality of views. Their borders are therefore not dividing lines but places of intermingling reflecting multiple worlds in circulation.
The Museum’s hope is that its collections speak to the public on issues of modern society. As such, the presentation connects the past and present through various cross-cutting contemporary themes: the use and exploitation of natural resources (gold, ivory, coffee, tobacco), pollution, migration, consumption, climate change and more. Through thought-provoking juxtapositions of artworks, the new wing embodies the humanist and socially engaged vision of a Museum open to the world.
The materials that comprise that backbone of each gallery were carefully chosen to reflect the natural environments from which the displayed objects hail: corroded steel that recall the red soils of Africa; charred wooden beams that resemble the Japanese technique of preserving wood buildings; and mashrabiya structures evoking the traditional architecture of Arab countries.