Portrait of Daphne Odjig's family

Daphne Odjig. Odjig Family; Father, Mother, Grandfather, Stanley, Daphne, Donald, Winnie, Xmas, Dec 25th, 1986. Acrylic on canvas, 121.9 × 101.6 cm. Purchase with assistance from Greg Latremoille and the Estate of Mary Ash, 2016. © Estate of Daphne Odjig 2016/39

The J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous & Canadian Art

June 30, 2018 – ongoing

Admission is always FREE for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass Holders & Visitors 25 and under. Learn more.


The McLean Centre for Indigenous & Canadian Art features some of the best art from our Indigenous and Canadian collections, presented in an engaging and accessible new showcase. Following a complete renovation of the individual galleries and the reinstallation of art, the McLean Centre reopened for Canada Day, 2018.

“The re-opening of the McLean Centre is an exciting opportunity to place artists at the core of the installations, to tell stories from new perspectives and engage visitors with the very best works – both new and familiar – from the Gallery’s Indigenous and Canadian collection.” - Georgiana Uhlyarik, the Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, at the AGO.

Over the next five years visitors will see artwork by Indigenous artists such as Carl Beam, Ruth Cuthand, Robert Houle, Robert Markle, Kent Monkman, Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, Jessie Oonark, Jane Ash Poitras and Jeff Thomas, among others, along with work by Inuit artists Shuvinai Ashoona and Annie Pootoogook. Canadian artists include Florence Carlyle, Emily Carr, June Clark, Lawren Harris, Jamelie Hassan, Kazuo Nakamura, Joanne Tod, Joyce Wieland and many more. The installations will change over time and new artists will be introduced.

“The McLean Centre revitalization enables the AGO to showcase contemporary Indigenous art leading conversations with Canadian art, and to highlight critical discussions about identity, the environment, history and sovereignty.” - Wanda Nanibush, Curator, Indigenous Art, at the AGO.

Excitingly, the Centre also includes many new dedicated spaces for Indigenous art, with four spaces devoted to Inuit art specifically. This reinstallation was a part of the larger Gallery-wide Look:Forward reinstallation project, launched in 2017.


Robert Houle. The Pines

Robert Houle, The Pines, 20022004. Oil on canvas, panel (centre): 91.4 x 121.9 cm. Panel (side, each of two): 91.4 x 91.4 cm. Gift of Susan Whitney. © Robert Houle. 2017/243

Robert Houle The Pines
Ruth Cuthand. Don't Breathe, Don't Drink

Ruth Cuthand, Don't Breathe, Don't Drink, 2016. 112 vessels with glass beads and resin, hand‑beaded blue tarpaulin tablecloth, and 10 MDF "gas board" panels. Installed dimensions variable. Purchase, with funds from Karen Schreiber and Marnie Schreiber through The American Friends of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Inc., 2017. © Ruth Cuthand.

Ruth Cuthand Don't Breathe, Don't Drink
Lawren S. Harris. Autumn Forest with Glaciated Bedrock, Georgian Bay

Lawren S. Harris, Autumn Forest with Glaciated Bedrock, Georgian Bay, c. 1914. Oil on canvas, overall (triptych): 128 x 182 cm. Purchase, 1989. © Family of Lawren S. Harris.

Harris Autumn Forest
Joyce Wieland. Boat Tragedy

Joyce Wieland, Boat Tragedy, 1964. Oil on canvas, 50.2 x 121.9 cm. Gift from the Toronto Dominion Bank, 1965. © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario.

Joyce Wieland Boat Tragedy


Anishinaabe mzinbiigewin mii maanda memooji miyaawang de’emigak shkiyii McLean Centre, nji sa wii kwedweng gegoo, ji-mkagaadeg shkiyii debwewinan miiniwaa e-niigaaniimigak dibaajimowinan iw sa wii-dibaataachigaadeg ezhi-dibaabiishkoodeg wi sa gaa-bi-zhiwebak. Nindan mzinbiige-gamigoong shpingaadenoon ezhi-maamowi mnaadending, e’edoweying, gwekwaadiziwin miiniwaa ezhi-debwenending. Mii-maanda ezhi-zhiibwaaseyaag mzowe ezhi-ngodoodenaawzing ji sa ezhi-ngodoodenaawzing kwiinwin maamowziwin eyaawong ezhinaagok maanda Canada. Wiindimaading dibaajimoowinan nji sa gaa-nji-ji-baaying miiniwaa yaawiying,maaba meznibiiget mompii kwiikimignaa ji-dizhindimong nji-sa aki, nibi, ezhi-aanseg miiniwaa nji-ken mindizing. Maanda aki aawan ezhi-ko-waabnjigeng Anishinaabeg ezhi-doodenaawziwaad, miiniwaa dash go bekish gii-aawan eko-naabing gonda Wendat gaa-daawaad miiniwaa giw Seneca gii-daawaad ensa niibiing. Maanda bezhig naagan geye emakwaan Wampum Gijibpizowin naakonigewin aawan gii-zhendamowin nji giw Haudenosaunee Confederacy miiniwaa giw Anishinaabeg Nswi mishkoden debendaagozijig ji maawndookiiwaad bzaantewin miiniwa ji naagide’endamowaad eteg akiing zhiw sa Gchi-Gaaming zaagiganing. Maanda AGO temgwad zhiwe Mississauga Anishinaabe e-ko-naabiwaad, miiniwaa kina mziniganan zhiw McLean Centre Anishinaabebiigaadenoon bekish dash go zhaagonaashimoowin ;miiniwaa wemtigoozhiimoowin. Nokiiwinan nji Inuit-ag emaawnjisjigewaad digosinoon mziniganan ezhigiizhiwewaad Inukitut.

Indigenous art forms the core of the new J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous & Canadian Art, in order to ask questions, discover new truths and lead conversations that address the weight of history. These galleries uphold the values of mutual respect, reciprocity, honesty and integrity. They reflect the nation-to-nation treaty relationship that is the foundation of Canada. Drawing from stories about our origins and identities, the artists here invite us to engage with issues of land, water, transformation and sovereignty. This land is the territory of the Anishinaabe nation and was also the territory of the Wendat and a summer home for the Seneca. The Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant is an agreement between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishinaabe Three Fires Confederacy to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. The AGO is on Mississauga Anishinaabe territory, and all texts in the J.S. McLean Centre are in Anishinaabemowin along with English and French. Works from the Inuit collection feature texts in Inuktitut.

L’art autochtone constitue le noyau du nouveau Centre J.S. McLean, permettant de poser des questions, de découvrir de nouvelles vérités et de diriger des conversations qui font face au poids de l’histoire. Ces salles défendent des valeurs de respect mutuel, de réciprocité, d’honnêteté et d’intégrité. Elles reflètent les relations de nation à nation, établies par traités, qui constituent le fondement du Canada. S’inspirant d’histoires au sujet de nos origines et de notre identité, les artistes présentés ici nous invitent à réfléchir à des questions liées au territoire, à l’eau, à la transformation et à la souveraineté. Ces terres sont le territoire des Anishinaabe, ont été aussi celui des Wendat, ainsi qu’un lieu de vie d’été pour les Seneca. Le traité de la ceinture wampum Dish with One Spoon est une entente entre la confédération des Haudenosaunee et la confédération des Trois Feux de l’Anishinaabe pour partager et prendre soin des ressources de la région des Grands Lacs. Le MBAO se trouve sur le territoire des Anishinaabe Mississaugas, et tous les textes présentés dans le Centre J.S. McLean sont en anishnaabemowin, ainsi qu’en anglais et en français. Les œuvres de la collection d’art inuit sont accompagnées de textes en inuktitut.

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