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New Remai Modern exhibition juxtaposes Picasso’s work alongside art from Africa, Papua New Guinea

For immediate release — June 15, 2021

SASKATOON, CANADA — Remai Modern’s newest exhibition from its extensive collection of Pablo Picasso linocuts incorporates African and Oceanic works, and makes unexpected connections.

A Formative Encounter: African and Oceanic Artists and Picasso, looks at Picasso through the lens of the non-European art that influenced his practice. Drawn entirely from Remai Modern’s collection, it explores Picasso’s formal vocabulary in relationship to that of African and Oceanic artists. 

“The connections between non-European art forms and the work of Picasso has been a long time interest for me. It was wonderful to discover that Remai Modern’s collection includes some wonderful African masks as well as carved objects from Papua New Guinea. It’s been a pleasure to have the opportunity to explore this relationship so early in my tenure at the museum,” said Michelle Jacques, Remai Modern’s Head of Exhibitions & Collections/Chief Curator.

This marks Jacques’ first curatorial project at Remai Modern since she joined the organization in February. In the exhibition, Oceania is represented by a group of sculptures from Papua New Guinea purchased by the Mendel Art Gallery in 1974. Africa is represented by two masks that entered the collection with little information. These works were both bequeathed to the museum by University of Saskatchewan art history Professor Nicholas S. Gyenes in 1985. 

Here, works by Picasso and artists from Papua New Guinea and West Africa are juxtaposed, inviting us to look at visual connections. It is surprising, but fortuitous, that decades before the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation’s generous donation of our treasured Picasso collection, the Mendel Art Gallery acquired these African and Oceanic works. A Formative Encounter also allows us to reflect on why these works are in our collection and consider how we can be more accountable to their care. 

The exhibition runs until September 12 in Remai Modern’s Picasso Gallery.

About Remai Modern

Remai Modern is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Traditional Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to First Nations and Métis ancestors and reaffirm our relationship with one another. Remai Modern is a new museum of modern and contemporary art in Saskatoon.

The museum is committed to affirming the powerful role that art and artists play in questioning, interpreting and defining the modern era. Open since October 2017, Remai Modern is the largest contemporary art museum in western Canada and houses a collection of more than 8,000 works, including the world’s foremost collection of Picasso linocut prints. Remai Modern would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Frank & Ellen Remai Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture through the Sask Lotteries Fund, SK Arts and the City of Saskatoon.

For additional information contact:

Stephanie McKay, Communications Manager