Tuesday, 27 March 2012

MOA Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver - Doug Cramner

We spent several days over the last few weeks at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
March 8-11, 2011.The annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival is a 'must see'. It takes place in the great hall with towering ancient totem poles. You are part of the revival of historic BC First Nations dance. The costumes, masks and dancers are amazing. At one time, dancing was not allowed by the Canadian Potlatch law, that banned ceremonials in last century. The elders remembered, and later were able to teach the younger generation. Dancing is once more a part of the lives of band members and includes children. One toddler was danced out with his mother. It was his job to balance, in response to his mom's dance. He had one hand firmly grasping the collar of her outfit and the other holding his rain hat in place. He had a big grin on his face and you know that the next generation will dance as a natural part of their lives. Later he was on stage with his own drum, keeping the rhythm of the dance. We attended the evening performance where photos were not allowed. You can see photos from 2010 using the link at the bottom of the post. 
The Museum of Anthropology was designed by Vancouver architect, Arthur Erikson, to re-create the spirit of the native bighouse. It is located on Musqueum land and specializes in the rich cultures of the North West Coast First Nations.
The MOA does have many in depth displays from other cultures.
We attended the official opening of his Retrospective Exhibition on March 16, 2012. This is a display of the art and life of Kwakwaka'wakw artist, Doug Cranmer of Alert Bay who passed away November 6, 2006 in Alert Bay, B.C.

Looking west from the Great Hall, the sunset was beautiful!

The director of the museum, Anthony Shelton, paid tribute to Doug's art and his mentoring of many young aboriginal artists over the years.
Chief Larry Grant from the Musqueum band paid tribute to the man who 'did not beat his own drum'. He carved  in the traditional way and experimented with new approaches and techniques.

Doug's sister, Gloria Cramner Webster spoke of her brother as a gentle man who pushed boundaries. Gloria is an Anthropologist and at one time worked at MOA as well as being on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, ON. 
Doug loved jazz and we were treated to music during the program.
right to left: Jennifer  Kramer who curated the show and oversaw the writing of a book: Kesu, the Life and Art of Doug Cranmer; Doug's wife Vivien Cranmer; Gloria Cranmer Webster (wearing a dress with a design by her brother) and Anthony Shelton the director of the Museum.
The chiefs closed the presentation and led the audience to the gallery to view Doug's work.
The exhibition is very impressive spanning early work, explaining the different stages in Doug's work and also exhibiting an example by the artists he mentored. Some of Doug's work is abstract, using the motifs/images of First Nation's West Coast Art, specifically the Kwakwaka'wakw culture.
As we were leaving, Gloria and many of the Cramner family were chatting.
This show runs from March 17  to  September 3 and is unique. This is the first Exhibition where Doug's work has been brought together. This exhibition is a 'must see'. The British Columbia First Nations culture is unique to each area with its own language, dances, ceremonies and significant motifs in the designs used.

Click to go to previous posts on MOA:

Dec 03, 2010
MOA -Museum of Anthropology, UBC. Rainy day in Vancouver? Or, just bored? Here is a place to spend the whole day! The sidewalk will greet you with a mosaic of modern designs. I have long been fascinated by these little ...
Jan 31, 2010
The building is concrete, but found its inspiration from the Big House built by the First Nations people on the coast. http://www.moa.ubc.ca/ On the grounds, there are examples of the Big House made of huge wood logs with ...

No comments: