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Museum of Anthropology 2013-14 Annual Report – Director’s Message

This year’s activities have been unprecedented in their array and the startling perspectives they often provoked in our visitors, students and even sometimes among ourselves. Who would have dreamt that a giant carved styrofoam cube by George Nuku and Cory Douglas would be suspended among the totem poles of the Great Hall, or that the starkness of the Audain Gallery could be transformed into an ensemble of Baroque rooms and corridors for the exhibition The Marvellous Real !

This year, MOA delighted to the sounds of 900 children and adults participating in our first celebration of the Day of the Dead. We were moved and inspired by the spectacular openings of Safar/ Voyage and The Marvellous Real, and by the quiet, contemplative spaces and testimonies of Speaking to Memory, developed in collaboration with the U’mista Cultural Centre and survivors of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School. We were delighted by the Iranian, Turkish and Arabic artists who joined us for the opening of Safar/ Voyage and by the Pacific Islands artists, performers and thinkers whose works graced the Museum and the Satellite Gallery as part of Paradise Lost? Contemporary Art from the Pacific.

Not only did our exhibitions this year become increasingly ambi- tious, but museum staff participated more broadly in teaching. Staff delivered four museology courses for UBC’s Anthropology Department; contributed towards MA programmes in Critical Curato-rial Studies, Museum Education, and the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies; supervised postgraduate seminars and taught graduate classes in post-colonial heritage at Rio de Ja- neiro’s Federal University. Staff sat on student advisory boards and took part in MFA and PhD examinations both at home and abroad. MOA’s Centre for Cultural Research, working with the Wall Centre, Green College and UBC departments organized and welcomed the first Lévi Strauss fellow, Dr. Ann-Christine Taylor, hosted our first Wall Institute Scholar in Residence, Professor Nélia Diaz, facilitated and provided the venue for a debate between two of France’s most prominent public intellectuals, Bruno Latour and Philipe Descola, and arranged in-house exhibition-related seminars.

This year, MOA launched a new publication series that combines scholarly research with stunning visual imagery and elegant design. The first publications to be produced under this series were writ- ten to accompany temporary exhibitions and were made possible through the support of UBS, FEMSA and the Audain Foundation. Future publications will feature upcoming exhibitions as well as highlight aspects of MOA’s collections.

, and the Ismaili Muslim community for its exquisite gifts that will contribute to a better representation and understanding of Islamic civilizations in Vancouver. We were amazed

by the gift of over 1,850 horn spoons and other ceremonial regalia from the family of the late Barbara Robertson, Gitxsan, that date from the late 19th century and dramatically attest to the great size and organizational capacity required to mount a Northwest Coast feast.

Staff continued to work to support MOA’s mandate and assist other museums and cultural institutions. It was immensely gratifying to see the spontaneous outburst of camaraderie that brought to- gether MOA conservators and the staff of the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay to help mitigate the damage caused by a fire at its facility. Later in the year, the determined and selfless effort of staff, security personnel and neighbours helped protect exhibits and galleries from a major flood caused by a broken water main on Marine Drive.

This year saw major changes in our staffing. Through the gener- ous support of the Mellon Foundation, Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura joined MOA as our new, much needed curator for Asia. This year, as well, our friend and distinguished colleague Bill McLennan retired after 37 years of superlative service. His knowledge and passion for First Nations art helped make MOA a leading centre for Northwest Coast First Nations research and display.

Few of these initiatives would have been possible without the support of many outside of MOA. We are indebted to our guest cu- rators Fereshteh Daftari and Nicola Levell whose hard work and ex- pertise helped make our exhibition program so rich. We are grateful to the exceptional generosity and goodwill of our benefactors and supporters: Nezhat Khosrowshahi, Rosalie Stronck, and the entire Safar/Voyage Volunteer Committee; Yosef Wosk; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Vancouver Foundation; and TD Bank, UBS Bank (Canada), FEMSA, the Mexican Government and many others who helped make many of this year’s initiatives possible. We thank the Faculty of Arts and Dean Gage Averill for their encouragement and leadership. Finally, we are especially thankful to the Musqueam Indian Band, on whose unceded ancestral territory the Museum stands, for its continuing support and friendship, and for graciously welcoming and co-hosting the XI Pacific Arts Association Interna- tional Symposium.

The collections continued to increase thanks in large part to our generous donors, among them the late Arne

and Peggy Mathisen for their transformative gift of Jack Shadbolt’s Coast Indian Suite (1976), which now

hangs majestically in the Michael Ames Theatre

Professor Anthony Shelton Director

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