Shé:kon1 | Hello!
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is situated in the territory of the Great Peace of 1701, a territory imbued with histories of relation, exchange and ceremony that have taken place at the centre of the island-metropolis known widely as Montreal. Tiohtià:ke in Kanien’kéha, Mooniyaang in Anishinaabemowin, Molian in Aln8ba8dwaw8gan, and Te ockiai in Wendat are various toponyms that attest to this. With the communities of Kahnawà:ke and Kanehsatà:ke, Tiohtià:ke encompasses the eastern expanse of Kanien’kehá:ka Nation territory, People of the Flint and Keepers of the Eastern Door within the Rotinonshión:ni/Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
Founded by a diverse group of individuals of European background with a passion for visual and musical culture from all eras, the MMFA and Bourgie Hall are gathering places that connect us to diverse memories and creations from all cultures. We recognize and honour the Indigenous aesthetic, political and ceremonial practices that have been imbued in the Montreal territory over millennia.
A collection that reflects the diversity of Indigenous Arts
The Museum is the custodian of an Indigenous arts collection that reflects and prioritizes the material, conceptual and cultural diversity of Indigenous artists of the Woodlands, the Circumpolar regions, as well as other shores and lands farther south. Located at the crossroads of Kanien’kehá:ka Nation communities, the Museum conveys multiple narratives of surrounding Indigenous peoples, including in particular the Anishinaabeg, W8banakiak and Wendat.
The works entrusted to the MMFA bear witness to the affirmation of belonging, gender, sexuality and kinship; performance, orality and the joy of living; the protection of lands and waters; the relationality between peoples and species; and the healing of traumas stemming from colonialism.
The program of group and solo presentations organized by the MMFA team, sometimes in collaboration with partner organizations, attests to the plurality of aesthetic traditions and novel approaches in Indigenous arts. The Museum is proud to highlight the International Decade for Indigenous Languages,2 the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action of numerous national commissions of inquiry. Its current and recent exhibitions are expressions of this commitment to artists from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the country, as well as from Indigenous communities elsewhere in the world.
• Portable Universe: Thought and Splendour of Indigenous Colombia (2023)
• Wolves: The Art of Dempsey Bob (2023)
• ᑐᓴᕐᓂᑐᑦ TUSARNITUT! Music Born of the Cold (2022-2023)
• Caroline Monnet: Ninga Mìnèh (2021)
• Alanis Obomsawin, Printmaker. An Artist and Her Nation: The Waban-Aki Weavers of Odanak (2019)
• Nadia Myre: Scattered Remains – Tout ce qui reste (2017-2018)
• Kushapetshekan / Kosapitcikan – A Glimpse into the Other World (2017-2018)
• Meryl McMaster: In-Between Worlds (2017)
• Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon (2013)
• Kent Monkman: Dance to the Berdashe (2009)
Bourgie Hall: living Indigenous traditions
A place for discovery, exchange and sharing, Bourgie Hall aims to celebrate First Peoples’ rich musical traditions. It celebrates remarkably talented musicians, composers and artists representing various First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities through concerts, commissioned works, lectures, listening circles and youth performances. Through Bourgie Hall’s commitment to showcasing traditions that are sometimes thousands of years old, audiences are able to marvel at the diversity and artistic richness of these creative minds. Among the Indigenous artists we have welcomed or whose works have been heard at Bourgie Hall are soprano Elisabeth St-Gelais; throat singers Lydia Etok, Nina Segalowitz and Sarah Siaza Carriere; poets and writers Maya Cousineau Mollen, Nicole O’Bomsawin and Joséphine Bacon; and composers Barbara Assiginaak and Eliot Britton.
Arts and education partnerships:
- Individualized internships for emerging Indigenous arts professionals
- Access for Indigenous community groups through the program Sharing the Museum
1 Hello in Kanien’kéha.
2 The United Nations declared 2022-2032 to be the International Decade for Indigenous Languages.