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