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In today’s highly competitive global market, it is critical that Canadian artists have access to opportunities and to share their work with international audiences. As the oldest and most important curated contemporary art event in the world, the Venice Biennale provides a place where art, ideas and international diplomacy intersect.

“The Venice Biennale is the only international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official representation. The National Gallery of Canada is in a perfect position to share with the world what Canadians are most excited about in art,” says Dr. Sasha Suda, director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada, who is pleased to announce Stan Douglas as Canada’s representative for the 2021 Venice Biennale. “It was a true privilege for the jury to have Douglas accept the nomination. He is, without a doubt, one of Canada’s most internationally respected artists.”

Douglas’s practice is recognized for its critical imagination, formal ingenuity and deep commitment to social enquiry, Dr. Suda explains. “Due to this reason – as well as Douglas’s continued re-imagination of the mediums of photography, multi-channel film and video installation, together with his paradigmatic investigations into the relation of local histories with generational social forces – the jury unanimously selected him.”

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In this role, Douglas joins the ranks of some of the country’s most celebrated artists, including Emily Carr, David Milne, Jean Paul Riopelle, Alex Colville, Guido Molinari, Michael Snow, General Idea, Geneviève Cadieux, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Rebecca Belmore, David Altmejd, Mark Lewis, Steven Shearer, Shary Boyle, BGL, Geoffrey Farmer and the art collective Isuma. Their participation at the Venice Bienniale has helped to shape the role and place of Canadian contemporary art within international circles.

[Douglas’s] work engages with social histories – both local and global – which underscore the profound connectedness and disconnectedness of the human race.

— Dr. Sasha Suda, director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada

Canada’s representatives to the Biennale raise their global profile and, by association, bring Canada and Canadian artists and their professional collaborators to the fore, believes Dr. Suda.

“As a Canadian federal Crown corporation, the National Gallery of Canada is not only home to Canada’s national collection – it is also the owner and commissioner of the Canadian Pavilion in Venice,” says Dr. Suda, who is excited about Douglas’s contribution to the upcoming event. “His work engages with social histories – both local and global – which underscore the profound connectedness and disconnectedness of the human race,” she says. “His practice is especially relevant in the context of the Biennale’s global dialogues.”

Douglas was represented at the 2019 Venice Biennale in both group exhibitions at the Arsenale and at the Giardini della Biennale in Venice, curated by Ralph Rugoff. “His work is resonating with the art world and beyond,” says Dr. Suda. “It seems only fitting for Canada to provide the broadest possible platform for sharing his work right now.”

Stan Douglas’s work will be on show in the Canada Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia from May to November 2021.


Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s Editorial Department was not involved in its creation.

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