Chief James Hart’s bronze sculpture The Three Watchmen installed outside the NGC

Ottawa - November 10, 2011

New acquisition a gift of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa

The National Gallery of Canada (NGC), in partnership with the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission, is pleased to announce the installation of Haida artist Chief James (Jim) Hart’s work The Three Watchmen at the corner of Sussex Drive and Saint Patrick Street, just outside the Gallery. The work was donated to the Gallery by NGC Board of Trustees Chair Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa.

“I have tremendous respect for the artist, Jim Hart,” said NGC Board of Trustees Chair Michael Audain. “As one whose love of art was shaped in part by early exposure to the art of the First Nations of our Northwest coast, I am delighted that the placement of this sculpture will allow Canadians and visitors alike to experience this rich artistic heritage.”

“We are indebted to the generosity of Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa,” noted NGC director Marc Mayer. “By donating this work to the National Gallery of Canada, they are enabling us to share the magic of Jim Hart’s tremendous artistic achievement with the people of the City of Ottawa, and those who visit our nation’s capital.”

“This sculpture represents an outstanding gesture by the National Gallery of Canada, in partnership with the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission to pay tribute to the First Peoples and awaken a new appreciation for the culture and stories of the Haida Nation. The sculptural expression that Chief Hart shares with us is deeply rooted in generations of tradition and belief. We are fortunate to be able to experience such a dynamic presence here in the Nation’s Capital,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo.

“This sculpture is a remarkable addition to the artistic and cultural landscape of Ottawa,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I want to thank Councillor Mathieu Fleury for his work to secure the opportunity to showcase Chief Hart’s The Three Watchmen, a stunning piece of art that enriches the vibrancy of our downtown core.”

"Public art animates spaces, encourages creativity and fosters discussion. The NCC is pleased to collaborate with the National Gallery of Canada to bring The Three Watchmen by Jim Hart to Canada’s Capital Region where it will undoubtedly contribute to the capital’s vibrancy, " said Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer of the NCC.

About The Three Watchmen
Standing at 14 feet tall, and cast in bronze, The Three Watchmen are configured back-to-back, and each figure takes in one-third of a full 360-degree panoramic view, which encompasses the Gallery, the American Embassy, the Canadian Parliament buildings, and the Ottawa River.

The Three Watchmen is the first work by Hart to enter the Gallery’s collection. A pioneer among Haida artists in the use of bronze, Hart is deeply engaged in the process of bringing ancient aesthetic and philosophical practices to bear on new materials and means of expression as a way of ensuring they carry forward into the future.

About artist Jim Hart
Chief James (Jim) Hart is one of the Northwest Coast's most accomplished artists. He comes from a long line of Haida chiefs who were carvers, the most noted being his great-great-grandfather, Charles Edenshaw, whose name and hereditary title Jim now holds as a chief of the Eagle Clan. Jim Hart has been a carver since 1979, first apprenticing with Robert Davidson and later working for Bill Reid from 1980 to 1984. He assisted with masterworks such as Reid’s The Raven and the First Men at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology and The Lord of the Undersea at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Since then Hart has carved numerous monumental Haida totem poles that stand in various locations around the world, including the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, the Indigenous United Peoples Festival in Pau, France, and the Old King’s Royal Family Summer Castle Grounds in Helsingbourg, Sweden. As much as he is in demand in these far off places he also maintains a practice devoted to his community and has carved and raised poles and built several Haida longhouses in Old Massett, Skidegate, and the abandoned community Yan in Haida Gwaii.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art, including the extensive collection of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains the largest touring art exhibition programme in the world. For more information: www.gallery.ca

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For more information, images or interviews, please contact:

Naomi Grattan
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada
613-990-0646
ngrattan@gallery.ca

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada
613-991-6835
bmallet@gallery.ca