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August 20, 2017

© McCord Museum, ME892.12.2. Photographer: Marilyn Aitken.

Raven rattle from 1800-1850.

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West Coast soul takes root in Ottawa

The capital's acclaimed Canadian Museum of Civilization hosts a spectacular exhibition of Haida art and culture. On until January 23, Haida: Life. Art. Spirit will feature 80 works drawn from Montreal's McCord Museum, which has one of the earliest and most significant collections in North America of works by the inhabitants of BC's Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands).

On display will be carved feast bowls, bentwood boxes, masks, rattles and argillite sculptures, including work by well-known artist Robert Davidson, who helped guide the selection of 19th-century works.

Part of what makes these pieces so fascinating is not only the insight into one of the continent's earliest cultures, it's also that the Haida artistic style has been compared to an ancient language, with a visual grammar and vocabulary of animals and mythological creatures. Definitely worth the trip.

Adults $12; seniors and students 13 and older, $10; youths 3 to12, $8. Thursdays from 4PM to 8PM, admission is free. (800) 555-5621; civilization.ca.

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