An Inside Look: Vancouver’s Acclaimed Museum of Anthropology

photo: Anthony Maw / Flickr

photo: Anthony Maw / Flickr

On the outskirts of Vancouver, in a quiet stretch of Pacific coastal rainforest, is an architectural marvel that’s just as impressive inside as out. Rising like a monumental post-and-beam hut – but made of stark concrete instead of wood – the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is home to one of the world’s finest collections of First Nations art and artifacts.

The Great Hall – with its 50-foot-high glass walls – houses a collection of towering totem poles from Pacific Northwest First Nations communities. In the rotunda sits the epic, larger-than-life sculpture The Raven and the First Men, crafted by Bill Reid and regarded as an icon of contemporary aboriginal art. Nearby, a unique gallery called the Multiversity comprises some 10,000 objects from traditional cultures around the world – set side by side in eye-opening juxtapositions.

Meanwhile, two special galleries host rotating exhibits. Currently on display in the 5,600-square-foot Audain Gallery is Without Masks: Contemporary Afro-Cuban Art, 80 provocative pieces of photography, film and more delving into race, religion and class in contemporary Cuba. Inside the more intimate O’Brien Gallery is Claiming Space: Voices of Urban Aboriginal Youth. Twenty young artists from across North America and around the world explore their identity in painting, fashion, film, new media and traditional art forms.

For full details, visit the UBC Museum of Anthropology website.

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