Art Gallery of Alberta

Canada’s $20 bill inspires upcoming AGA lecture

Canada’s $20 bill inspires upcoming AGA lecture

UBC Professor Charlotte Townsend-Gault speaks about Indigenous art and Canadian identity

For Immediate Release
May 16, 2011

EDMONTON, AB – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is proud to present National Spirit: The Haunting of Art in Canada on Thursday, May 19 at 8 pm. This public lecture by University of British Columbia Professor Charlotte Townsend-Gault will examine the proliferation of First Nations imagery in Canadian popular culture by looking at the connections between three current AGA exhibitions.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for AGA Members, and can be purchased online at or in person at the Gallery.

The ways in which a country comes to understand works of art as the basis of essential, shared values are complicated, at times ignoring history and seldom reflecting consensus of the entire population. The disconnect between the use of Haida art on Canada’s $20 bill and the situation of the country’s Native population, for example, presents contradicting views of a complex national issue. In this talk, Charlotte Townsend-Gault will follow some of the links – historical, imaginative, perhaps hidden – that can be made among works by both Native and non-Native artists in recent AGA exhibitions.

Charlotte Townsend-Gault is a Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia. A past board member of the Native American Art Studies Association, she is the author and editor of numerous publications on the subject of Northwest Coast art. Her forthcoming book is entitled Masked Relations: Disguise on the Northwest Coast.

National Spirit: The Haunting of Art in Canada
Charlotte Townsend-Gault
Thursday, May 19, 8 pm
Ledcor Theatre, Art Gallery of Alberta
$15 / $10 AGA Members
Tickets available at

This lecture is part of an ongoing series devoted to providing Albertans the opportunity to hear from leading scholars, thinkers and artists about current AGA exhibitions. It is held in conjunction with the exhibitions: Haida Art: Mapping an Ancient Language, Nature and Spirit: Emily Carr’s Coastal Landscapes and Walter J. Phillips: Water & Woods, which are all on view until June 5.

For more information on the AGA lecture series or to purchase tickets online, please visit our website.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. The AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. The AGA also offers a full-range of art education and public programs. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta maintains a collection of more than 6,000 objects and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta. It is the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture. The AGA recently underwent a major re-building project. Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the 85,000 sq foot (7,900 sq metres) new AGA opened to the public on January 31, 2010. The new Gallery features three floors of premiere exhibition space; the City of Edmonton Terrace; the Singhmar Centre for Art Education; Zinc Restaurant; Shop AGA; Ledcor Theatre and an Art Rental and Sales Gallery.


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The Art Gallery of Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that relies on the support of its Members, donors, sponsors and government. The AGA is grateful for the generous support of the many public and private donors and sponsors who have made the AGA’s New Vision possible, as well as the ongoing support of the City of Edmonton, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts and our Members.