Vancouver Day Five: Museum Of Anthropology

April 25th, 2013 § 0 comments

The UBC (University of British Columbia) Museum of Anthropology is pure magic. The building itself can, in HG’s opinion, be described as a perfect work of architecture. It is a masterpiece by Arthur Ericson, the distinguished Canadian architect. A structure of poured concrete and glass, it displays Ericson’s creative mastery of these materials as well as his sensitive, poetic creation of flowing horizontal volumes and rhythms (his Simon Fraser University in Burnaby and the Law Courts in downtown Vancouver are other examples). The MOA has two interior highlights: the Great Hall and the Bill Reid Rotunda. The Great Hall is a spectacular lofty glass-walled space suffused in sunshine. It houses tall totem poles and large carvings from MOA’s definitive collection of Northwest Pacific Coast First Nations Art. The Bill Reid Rotunda is a circular skylit space that displays Bill Reid’s monumental wood scupture, “The Raven and The First Men”. It depicts the First Nations myth concerning the creation of humanity — the trickster Raven discovering wriggling human forms in a clam shell. The late Bill Reid, a very great artist, is venerated in Canada but little known in the United States. This is not surprising since the American view of Canada is comprised of cliche images of battling hockey players, “Eskimos,” “Mounties” and Polar Bears. And, snow, of course, endless snow. HG and BSK discussed this, among other things, as they ate samosas and butter chicken wraps and drank cups of hot chai in MOA’s cafe.

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