The word “ecology” evokes visions of thriving ecosystems teeming with an abundant variety of species coexisting in diverse habitats. However, the term is also tainted by negative associations with an unprecedented environmental crisis that is impacting living systems. While the detrimental consequences of human activity are widespread, it is populations living symbiotically with the natural world that are the most adversely affected. In Canada, as in other countries with a history of colonization, the issue of environmental injustice is inextricably linked to the sufferings of Indigenous peoples.
Ecologies showcases a captivating selection of some 90 works stemming mainly from the Museum’s collection, including several new acquisitions and other rarely or never before seen works. Installations, videos, sculptures, paintings, drawings and photographs by Canadian and international artists, such as Shuvinai Ashoona, Edward Burtynsky, Olafur Eliasson, Lorraine Gilbert, Isabelle Hayeur, Jessica Houston, Giuseppe Penone, Adrian Stimson and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun each present a unique interpretation of ecology.
The exhibition juxtaposes vibrant creations – veritable biospheres born from collaborations with nature – with scenes of deforestation, environmental catastrophes and other devastating outcomes of human intervention. It notably integrates the video installation Requiem for a Glacier, a musical homage by Paul Walde that was performed by 50 musicians on Farnham Glacier in British Columbia. The piece memorialized an area threatened by global warming and a proposed resort development.
Credits and curatorial team
An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Curator: Iris Amizlev, Curator of Intercultural Arts, MMFA