The National Gallery of Canada was staging one of the most ambitious contemporary art exhibitions in its history. Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art was the first of a series of exhibits dedicated to “diverse, complex and challenging artworks being made by indigenous artists in regions such as the Americas, Asia, Oceania, Europe and Africa.” It filled both floors of the National Gallery of Canada special exhibition spaces as well as the contemporary art galleries—not to mention several public spaces inside and outside the Gallery. The exhibition was a milestone, and was incredibly significant for Canadian and International art history.At the time of the exhibition, there was a large construction project taking place at the Gallery, to replace the skylights and windows in all our public spaces, including our major gather centre, the Great Hall.
The idea of incorporating the large construction zone into the exhibition was well received by other team members on the project, to take advantage of the interior and exterior hoarding, scaffolding and temporary ceiling we had to install in the Great Hall. Some sections of hoarding inside was left unfinished to show the wood grain, while also relating to traditional aboriginal materials, while other sections were painted white to reflect a relationship to contemporary art. Raw plywood was also brought into the exhibition space to replace drywall to have a consistent look throughout.
We also had the opportunity to use the exterior windows and scaffolding around the Great Hall covered with a massive mural created by Greenlandic artist Inuk Silis Høegh that transformed the building into a looming iceberg.