More than 120 Haida artifacts are expected to travel to Greece, perhaps as early as next year, in what's being billed as the first-ever touring exhibition of Canadian aboriginal art to that European nation.
Announcement of the loan was made in Thessaloniki, Greece, this week by Jean-Marc Blais, director-general of the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa.
The museum, along with Montreal's McCord Museum, would be the primary supplier of historical artifacts, while contemporary works would come from Haida Gwaii sources on British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands.
Blais was in this historic Greek city as part of a media conference announcing details of The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great. This unprecedented exhibition, beginning next month in Montreal, then travelling to Chicago and Washington, will showcase more than 500 antiquities culled from 21 Greek museums – "the most significant exhibition Greece has ever sent abroad," according to Maria Vlazaki, former director of antiquities for Greece.
Blais said the Haida show is a demonstration that Greek-Canadian cultural relations are not a "one-dimensional type of relationship of Greece sending its heritage out to us."
Blais said he hopes other European countries will take the Haida show after Greece. No locale in Greece has been determined, but it's known the Canadian ambassador to the country, Robert Peck, would like it shown at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau will host the exhibition The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great June 5 to Oct. 12, 2015.