Canada Council Art Bank celebrates 50th anniversary with purchase of 72 new works

Poignant (2018), Barry Ace
Found antique wooden and iron flax Hetchel comb, bronze screen, electronic components (capacitors, resistors, light emitting diodes), glass beads, bronze screen, circuit board, coated wired  

The Canada Council Art Bank announced this month that with a dedicated purchase budget of $600,000, it has acquired 72 works by emerging and established artists from Canada. Introduced as part of the Art Bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations, this milestone purchase of permanent pieces by artists who are predominantly new to the collection has enabled the changing face of contemporary art in Canada to be celebrated.

The Art Bank received 1,748 eligible submissions in response to the call for purchases that it launched as part of commemorating this milestone anniversary. Priority was given to artists who self-identify as Indigenous, Black, racialized, Deaf or having a disability, from official language minority communities, youth, 2SLGBTQI+, gender-diverse and women. In addition, the Art Bank also prioritized acquisitions of artwork by artists whose works are not currently in the Art Bank collection. This decision was based on the Council’s current strategic direction to build a more inclusive and equitable collection.

To celebrate this new purchase, an exhibition with some of the newly acquired works will be presented in the Âjagemô Exhibition Space in June 2023.

Included in the purchase was Poignant by Barry Ace, pictured above.

"Poignant addresses the impact of Canada’s Residential Schools on Indigenous peoples. A child’s moccasin rests on top of a bed of sharp spikes of a vintage hackle. Partial Anishinaabe floral motifs on one side of a hollow mesh shoe form and trailing wire fringe represent the impact of assimilation, culture loss, and erasure. The circuit board references a vulnerable system that is susceptible breakdowns. Although much damage has been done, Indigenous peoples are seeking reparation and healing from the adverse impact of colonization."