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Museum of Anthropology receives Bill Reid works

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia has received a private ‘treasure’ of early Bill Reid works.

The new pieces, valued at more than $500,000, expand MOA’s Bill Reid collection – already the world’s largest public one – to 250 pieces, including carvings, drawings, metalwork, and sculptural masterpieces such as The Raven and the First Men, which depicts a version of the Haida people’s origin story, and is on permanent display at the museum.

“My wife cherished wearing these beautiful pieces by our friend Bill, and wanted the greater community to enjoy them,” says Friedman, noting that only two pieces in the collection have previously been exhibited. “I am very proud to make this gift, because it honours one of Constance’s dearest wishes, and because it also reflects our deep history with UBC.”

The Friedmans were founding members of UBC’s Faculty of Medicine in 1950. Dr. Sydney Friedman, 96, led UBC’s Dept. of Anatomy for 30 years, authoring a three-volume “visual atlas” for medical students. Dr. Constance Livingstone-Friedman, who passed away in June 2011 at the age of 91, taught histology and anatomy to medical and dental students. Together, they published more than 200 research papers on salt and hypertension.

Bill Reid (1920-1998) was a pivotal force in introducing to the world the great art traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast. His legacies include infusing these traditions with modern ideas and forms of expression.

The Friedman collection displays Reid’s technical and artistic virtuosity at a period when he was experimenting with European goldsmithing techniques (casting, overlay and repoussé), exploring and seeking to ‘make modern’ the motifs of historical Haida art and mythology, McLennan adds.

The Friedmans’ eleven-piece collection of jewellery is on display in MOA’s Bill Reid Rotunda starting today. Their gift includes two other objects – a print by Reid and a historical Northwest Coast bracelet by an unknown artist – which will be exhibited later this year.

This gift forms part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history. For more information, visit:

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