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<nettime> Museum will show Arab-Canadian art was->THE 'POSTPONEMENT' OF
George(s) Lessard on Tue, 2 Oct 2001 03:12:56 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Museum will show Arab-Canadian art was->THE 'POSTPONEMENT' OF EXHIBITION ON ARAB-CANADIAN ART


This exhibition is already back on track and will be presented...
The Museum of Civilization's web page
www.civilization.ca

Museum will show Arab-Canadian art
Reverses earlier decision not to show

JENNIFER DITCHBURN
Canadian Press
Friday, September 28, 2001

HULL, Que. (CP) - The Canadian Museum of Civilization has reversed itself
and will hold an exhibit of Arab-Canadian art starting Oct. 19. Museum
director Victor Rabinovitch announced the decision Friday at a hastily
called news conference. The exhibit, entitled Lands Within Me, involves
work from 26 Canadian artists of Arab origin. The central theme is the
experience of people emigrating from the Middle East to Canada. Earlier
this week, Prime Minister Jean Chretien tore a strip off the museum in the
Commons after it announced it was postponing the exhibit which was to open
after an Oct. 18 gala reception. The museum, which had planned the exhibit
for five years, said it felt the delay was needed to give it time to add
historical context on the Arab world to the exhibit in light of terrorist
attacks on the United States. Chretien said that was the "wrong decision."
"I've been informed they want to do the exhibition in the month of March -
if it is good for March 2002, it is good for October 2001," said Chretien,
who received a standing ovation from members of all parties in the
Commons. © Copyright 2001 The Canadian Press

PM right to blast museum's plans  Saskatoon StarPhoenix In the face of
well-deserved rebukes from politicians, artists and citizens whose moral
compass remained true at this time of stress, Canadian Museum of
Civilization officials on Friday hastily reversed a bone-headed decision
to delay an exhibit by 26 Arab-Canadian artists. It's impossible to
comprehend the thinking behind the move by museum director Victor
Rabinovitch and his board to try to put off until spring 2002 an exhibit
that has been five years in the making and was scheduled to open Oct. 19.
Their proffered excuse -- that museum curators wanted to add "context" to
the works, given the recent terrorist strikes against U.S. cities -- was
pathetically lame at best. As Prime Minister Jean Chretien said of the
exhibit, amid a rare display of unanimous agreement on an issue by MPs of
all parties in the Commons: "It was the wrong decision that was made ...
If it is good for March 2002, it is good for October 2001." No matter how
one looks at it, Rabinovitch and the museum board laid to waste the
concept of freedom of expression, which surely must remain among the
dearest tenets held by those in their position. Not only that. Their
gutless move to postpone a show by a group of artists who share nothing in
common with the heinous terrorists but the region of their birth went
against everything that Chretien and U.S. President George Bush had
stressed since the start of the crisis. Little wonder that Chretien, who
made time to attend a mosque in the wake of the beating of an Arabic
teenager in Ottawa to admit that he "was ashamed as prime minister" that
such a moronic "retaliation" act would happen in Canada, was so
uncharacteristically decisive in calling Rabinovitch and the museum to
task. In essence, their decision pandered to the politics of fear. It had
nothing to do with artistic merit. Good for Chretien, MPs and others with
a sense of justice for insisting on fair treatment of Canadians with
Muslim and Arab roots. As Heritage Minister Sheila Copps said: "It
certainly makes no sense, when we are trying to build bridges, to send a
message that seems to burn them." © Copyright 2001 Saskatoon StarPhoenix








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