An art piece by Blenheim artist David Maris titled “TRC” was installed into the United Nations permanent collection recently at the Palais de Nation, Geneva, representing Canada in the collection.
Canadian Ambassador Rosemary McCarney and Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, Canada’s Indigenous chair to the UN, spoke to the work, along with representatives of the UN Cultural Committee.
This follows up on Maris’ successful exhibit last year at the United Nations, “The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children of Canada.” The pieces in the exhibit were on display for a short time in Blenheim last summer before being shipped to Geneva.
The UN Cultural Committee worked with the Canadian embassy to have the art piece in the permanent collection, which is to hang outside the hall where the Human Rights sessions are held, Maris explained.
“The work, ‘TRC,’ is one of my pieces completed after the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Call to Action, 2015), in response to the recommendations of the TRC regarding Indigenous people’s rights. It also acknowledges the plight of indigenous people and their nations, in the fight for justice within Canada and beyond,” Maris said by phone from Geneva.
Littlechild spoke to the audience of his personal experience in the residential schools, highlighting his 30 some years as a Canadian representative to the UN and the important work there, Maris said. He also spoke to the importance of art to the reconciliation process.
McCarney made note of the gift of art, in this the 150 anniversary of Canada, and the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She said that reconciliation is a Canadian imperative for all of us; not just an indigenous issue.
Corinne Momal-Vanian of the UN director general’s office, spoke on behalf of the Director General who was to attend, but required to be in New York.