Sunday, June 18, 2017

Create the National Portrait Gallery of Canada

From Change Org.

There are strong rumours that Justin Trudeau will NOT allow the former U.S. Embassy across from Parliament Hill to be used for the creation of a long-recommended National Portrait Gallery of Canada but will use it instead for political purposes.

PLEASE show your support for creating such a gallery NOW before it is too late!

The National Archives of Canada has the second largest collection of portraits in the world but has nowhere to put them. An Ipsos poll found that 2/3rds of those polled supported the creation of such a gallery.

More excellent reasons can be found in: “It’s time for Canada to create a national portrait gallery” (Globe and Mail, March 31, 2017) by Lawson A. W. Hunter, chairman of the Ottawa Art Gallery, and author Charlotte Grey and in “For Canada 150, let’s build a national portrait gallery” (Ottawa Citizen, May 25, 2017) by Doug Black, senator for Alberta:

My own reasons are:

1) If Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. can have one, why can’t we?

2) It will serve as a cheering reminder of Canada’s fascinating history, rich diversity and vibrant culture with portraits in its collection of: Dan Akroyd, Pamela Anderson, Paul Anka, Louise Arbour, Denys Arcand, Will Arnett, Margaret Atwood, Randy Bachman, Jim Balsillie, Frederick Banting and Charles Best, Neil Bissoondath, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Samantha Bee, Archibald Belaney (Grey Owl), Jean Beliveau, Norman Bethune, Justin Bieber, Billy Bishop, Conrad Black, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, Roberta Bondar, Marguerite Bourgeoys, Joseph Boyden, Joseph Brant, Measha Brueggergosman, Michael Buble, Emily Carr, Alessia Cara, Adrienne Clarkson, Leonard Cohen, Raymond Collishaw, David Cronenberg, Sidney Crosby, Burton Cummings, Greg Curnoe, Yvonne de Carlo, Samuel de Champlain, Paul de Chomedey (Sieur de Maisonneuve), Arthur Currie, John Diefenbaker, Celine Dion, Shirley and Tommy Douglas, Drake, Atom Egoyan, Feist, Michael J. Fox, Terry Fox, Nelly Furtado, Frank Gehry, John Kenneth Galbraith, Ryan Gosling, Glenn Gould, Wayne Gretsky, Paul Gross, Lawren Harris, Ben Heppner, Gordie Howe, Jane Jacobs, Michaelle Jean, Carly Rae Jepson, Norman Jewison, Dwayne Johnson, Pauline Johnson, Karen Kain, Yousuf Karsh, Naomi Klein, Thomas King, K’naan, K. D. Lang, Avril Lavigne, Mike Lazaridis, Stephen Leacock, Rene Levesque, Mario Lemieux, Gordon Lightfoot, J.A. Macdonald, J.E.H. MacDonald, Chief Maquinna, Daniel, Raymond and Vincent Massey, Rachel McAdams, Nellie McClung, Ernest McCulloch and James Till, Sarah McLaughlin, Colin McPhee, Alanis Morisette, Deepa Mehta, Shawn Mendes, Lorne Michaels, Joni Mitchell, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, L.M. Montgomery, Norval Morrisseau, Marjan Mozetich, Robert Munch, Alice Munro, James Naismith, Nanook of the North, Steve Nash, Leslie Nielson, Pierre Peladeau, Lester B. Pearson, Mary Pickford, John Polanyi, Sarah Polley, Oscar Peterson, Sandra Oh, Michael Ondaatje, Bobby Orr, William Osler, Raffi, Ryan Reynolds, Louis Riel, Laura Secord, William Shatner, Norma Shearer, Martin Short, Joey Smallwood, Hank Snow, Buffy Ste. Marie, P.K. Subban, Donald and Kiefer Sutherland, David Suzuki, Lilly Singh, Kateri Tekakwitha, David Thompson, Kenneth Thomson, Tom Thomson, Shania Twain, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, William Cornelius van Horne, Denis Villeneuve, Jacques Villeneuve, the Weeknd, Garfield Weston and Neil Young. To name a few. Pretty darned “far and wide”!

3) The gallery will boost tourism to Ottawa once the 150th anniversary of Confederation is past. Ottawanians especially should sign this petition!

4) Royalty will have an extra reason to open the gallery because it will display paintings of the “Four Mohawk Kings”, painted in 1710, which Queen Elizabeth gave to Canada in 1977 but which have been sitting in the National Archives of Canada ever since.

5) Canada’s national portrait competition, the Kingston Prize will provide a ready-made exhibition each year.

6) Extra buzz will be accrued to the gallery when Canadian mega-stars drop by to see and pose with their portraits. (Will Joni Mitchell contribute a self-portrait?)

7) The gallery shop can be replete with cool souvenirs such as: postcards of the most famous subjects and/or popular portraits with English and French language biographies on the back instead of empty space; Laura Secord chocolates made specially for the gallery (the company is once again owned by Canadians); biographies in book and CD form; the best movie posters featuring Canadian stars, past and present; notebooks, cellphone covers, mugs, bookmarks, t-shirts etc. of specially commissioned portraits of some of the hottest performing artists on the planet by some of our greatest visual artists (for example, I would love to see a portrait of Drake by Andrew Salgado!) which would attract online sales to international fans; and adaptations of some of the best ideas from other portrait museums.

PLEASE help make this happen!

Cathy Schaffter Toronto, Canada


"100 Wellington isn't the right home for an indigenous cultural centre" in The Ottawa Citizen

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