Museum to examine Reid's legacy in forum

UBC is staging a public forum which will inform the international debate raging over the work of one of Canada's most important artists.

The two-day symposium to be held Nov. 13 and 14 -- The Legacy of Bill Reid: A Critical Enquiry -- is presented by the Museum of Anthropology. It will provide an important and timely opportunity for scholars, artists, museum and gallery curators and the interested public to explore a range of issues surrounding the work of the Haida artist who died last year.

"The museum houses the largest collection of Bill Reid's work and is the institution most closely associated with him," says Ruth Philips, director of the museum. "We have an important public role to play and the university is able to gather together scholarly and academic expertise."

"Together we have accepted a responsibility for creating the climate for a rigorous discussion of the work of a very important and influential artist," she adds. "We hope the symposium begins a process which occurs at the end of every great artist's life, when the total shape of their work has taken place."

A cover story on Bill Reid in Maclean's magazine last month touched off a national furore. The symposium, which was organized well in advance of the publication, provides an opportunity for experts to discuss the issues raised in the article and many more.

Bill Reid is credited with beginning a renaissance of Northwest Coast and First Nations Art and with being an innovator who successfully fused Haida expressive forms with Western modernism. His creativity extended beyond the manipulation of form to what some would term a reinvention of Haida identity. As an activist he is also acknowledged for his support of Haida land claims.

Internationally renowned speakers, both Haida and non-Haida, will engage in two days of discussion aimed at bringing a critical perspective to Bill Reid's complex legacy, and to the ways in which his art has been received and given meaning.

The symposium takes place at the First Nations House of Learning, 1985 West Mall. Registration fees are $70 for both days; free for UBC students; $16 for other students. To confirm date, time and location, or for more information call 604-822-5087.