In November 2019, the Museum unveiled the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Wing for the Arts of One World. Located on the 4th floor of the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, the wing’s 10 fully refurbished galleries present a dialogue between works from ancient and traditional cultures and those by local and international contemporary artists, framed in a renewed intercultural and transhistorical perspective. This ambitious reinstallation project was made possible thanks to the generous support of Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery.

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 clode 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.

“One World”: a tribute to Édouard Glissant

The MMFA’s former World Cultures collection has undergone a complete restructuring. Its new name makes reference to the concept of One World introduced by Martinique poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928-2011). Human relationships are key to his body of thought on diversity and plurality. Challenging the ethnocentric views conveyed by the world and History, Glissant interprets modernity as a process in which all peoples and cultures are in interrelation in a non-hierarchical worl.

Artists in dialogue with cultures

The new wing showcases works by international artists, such as Jim Dine, Julio González and Wifredo Lam, alongside those by about 70 Canadian and Quebec artists, including Shary Boyle, Léopold L. Foulem, Isabelle Hayeur, Richard Millette, Françoise Sullivan, Barbara Todd and Kim Waldron.These works provide an interplay with cultures from every continent. The wing also gives visitors an opportunity to see (perhaps for the second time or more) the photography of Quebec creators as Darren Ell, Michel Huneault and Valerian Mazataud, who presented their vision of the world in La Balade pour la Paix: An Open‐Air Museum, in 2017.

A geopoetic stroll through the Arts of One World

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 view. Their borders are therefore not dividing lines but places of intermingling reflecting multiple worlds in circultation.

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 carrefully 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.

Credits and curatorial team

The Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery wing is curated by Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA, in collaboration with Iris Amizlev, Exhibition Concept Consultant – Arts of One World, Erell Hubert, Curator of Pre-Columbian Art, MMFA, and Laura Vigo, Curator of Asian Art, MMFA.

The MMFA also partnered with researchers Danielle Aimée Miles, MA Art History and, museology specialist; Valerie Behiery, Middle East contemporary art specialist, art historian and independent scholar; John M. Fossey, FRSC, classical archaeology specialist and emeritus Curator of Mediterranean Archaeology, MMFA; Céline Gillot, pre-Columbian art specialist and PhD; Rafah Jwejati, PhD, Middle East antique mosaics specialist; Perrine Poiron, Egyptologist and PhD candidate in Egyptology and History; Andilib Sajid, Islamic art specialist and curator; and Akiko Takesue, PhD, Japanese art specialist.

The exhibition was designed by Sandra Gagné, Head of Exhibitions Production, MMFA.

Visit the collection in the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion

The Arts of One World is presented by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, thanks to the outstanding support of Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery.

The MMFA acknowledges the contribution of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications to the realization of this project as well as that of the Canada Council for the Arts (New Chapter program), and of the Conseil des arts de Montréal (Impressions artist residency). It also underscores the important collaboration of the Centre de conservation du Québec.

The MMFA thanks all of its donors who, from Frederick Cleveland Morgan onwards, have enriched the encyclopedic collection – notably including works of archaeology, world cultures and contemporary art, near and far – as well as the private and institutional lenders for their participation.

The Museum is sincerely grateful to Dr. Stephen Fichman for his support of the Asian art galleries and his enrichment of the Japanese art collection. It acknowledges the contribution of Narinder Singh and Satinder Kaur Kapany, the Sikh Foundation International (U.S.A.) and the Chadha Family Foundation. The MMFA further extends its thanks to the Clément-Frencia family, Oscar A. Pekau, Christian Thériault, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Toshiba International Foundation and the International Friends of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for their support.

The Museum thanks its media partners Bell, La Presse and Montreal Gazette. In addition, the MMFA thanks all the volunteers on the acquisition committees and the Volunteer Guides for their abiding dedication, and acknowledges all its Members and the many individuals, corporations and foundations – in particular the Fondation de la Chenelière, directed by Michel de la Chenelière, and Arte Musica, presided by Pierre Bourgie – for their generosity. The Museum extends its thanks as well to the Institut du Tout-Monde.

Finally, we extend our gratitude to all those who, through their generous assistance, encouragement and support, made this project possible.

This Web page was designed to give you a glimpse of the Museum’s collection. Please note that it is not possible to exhibit the entire collection in the galleries at once. As such, the artworks shown here might not be on display at the present time.

Photo credits
Murik, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, LOWER RAMU, Brag mask, before 1957. MMFA, purchase, gift of James Morgan | Teotihuacan (150 B.C.E. – 650 C.E.), MEXICO, CENTRAL HIGHLANDS, mask, 300-600. MMFA, purchase, gift of Miss Mabel Molson | Romuald Hazoumè, Wodomè, 2017. MMFA, purchase, the Appel family fund in memory of Bram and Bluma Appel, Mona Prentice bequest. © Romuald Hazoumè / SOCAN (2020) | Meiji period (1868-1912), JAPAN, Nō Mask of Kasshiki. MMFA, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald W. Birks | Dan, LIBERIA or CÔTE D’IVOIRE, Tankagle or Deangle mask, before 1930. MMFA, purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan. Photos MMFA

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