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CMHR reopens tomorrow: Witness Blanket now on display

800 objects hold stories of residential school survivors from across Canada

Tags for CMHR reopens tomorrow: Witness Blanket now on display

A large art installation composed of hundreds of objects embedded in a cedar frame resembling a quilted blanket.

Photo: CMHR, Aaron Cohen

News release details

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) opens tomorrow with a focus on the Witness Blanket, a monumental artwork made of more than 800 objects collected from the sites and survivors of Indian residential schools from every region of Canada.

This work of national importance, created by Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish artist Carey Newman (Hayalthkin’geme), has become a framework for conversations about the genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The new exhibition Witness Blanket: Preserving a Legacy originally opened April 30 – only a week before the pandemic closed the Museum for the third time. It is the first public display of this challenging installation since the Museum and Newman forged a historic agreement in 2019 to become its mutual caretakers.

What / When / Where

  • WHAT: CMHR reopens to the public
  • WHEN: Tuesday, July 27, 2021 – Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • WHERE: 85 Israel Asper Way, Winnipeg

The 12‐metre‐long Witness Blanket stands alongside another new exhibition called Artivism, which also presents art and sacred objects contributed by residential school survivors, sourced from Canada’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. They join works by artists and art collectives from Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and South Africa that encourage visitors to confront the reality of past atrocities and commit to undertaking actions for change.

Both exhibitions showcase powerful works of art that have inspired action for human rights around the world. Entry is included with general admission.

Under Manitoba’s current COVID‐19 public health order, Museum entry is restricted to fully vaccinated visitors only, unless they are children under 12 accompanied by fully vaccinated adults of the same household. COVID‐19 protocols are strictly observed at the Museum through face masks, timed ticketing, social distancing, and rigorous cleaning and sanitation.

The current exhibition of the Witness Blanket is generously supported by TD Bank Group with additional funding from The Winnipeg Foundation.

Media contacts

Rorie McLeod (he/him)