Visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery I read about the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), established to build a railway line down the West Coast. The chief of the CPR was an advocate of arts and culture, so offered free rail travel to artists exploring the country opened up by the CPR. The art form these explorations was exhibited at events organised by the CPR - they were used astourist promotions of this age in the 1800s, used to entice settlers and tourists alike.
This led to a vibrant art scene with some artists spending months with indigenous tribes, consequently being influenced by each others artistic practices. I fell in love with Lawren Harris and his ability to craft what look to me to be very contemporary lines and colours in the 1920s. Emily Carr's work was similarly attractive, she and her sister ventured to Canada in 1907, remaining part of the creative establishment. Her paintings and writings explore the exotic mystery of Canada.
Also in the gallery are fabulous ancient and contemporary indigenous works. I was fascinated to notice that the pigment in the masks from the 1800s were as vibrant as those of the modern carvers. It seems there is a relatedness between Pacific nations, I can't help but notice stylistic similarities between Canada, Hawaii and New Zealand. A fantastic use of colours, patterns, symbols and totems.