Arts Legacy

Paintings, photographs, sculptures, glass, ceramic​, and multimedia content created by ​the ​artists and writers, poets and photographers​ from the expedition.

Open Channels Exhibit

June 25, 2019 to January 26, 2020

Canada Council for the Arts
150 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada

 The Canada Council for the Arts presents Open Channels/ Passages Communicants,  in partnership with The Students on Ice Foundation

© Martin Lipman/ SOI Foundation

Open Channels presents the works of visual artists who took part in the Canada C3 sailing expedition organized for the 150th anniversary of Confederation, in 2017. Aboard the MV Polar Prince, they drew inspiration from Canada’s ever-evolving environmental, social and cultural landscapes, as well as from dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The artists whose works are presented in this exhibition are Lizzie Ittinuar, Sarni Pootoogook, Deanna Bailey, Soheila Esfahani, Christine Fitzgerald, Anna Gaby-Trotz, Phil Irish, Benjamin Kikkert, Paula Murray, Dominique Normand, Geoff Phillips, Francine Potvin, Leslie Reid, Rachel Rozanski and Véronique Tifo.


© Martin Lipman/ SOI Foundation

Curatorial Statement

Open Channels presents a selection of work by artists in Canada that address the central concerns of the present moment: the hybrid experience of the newcomer; the dramatic rate of biological, geological, and material transformations as we enter the Anthropocene; and the interconnected realms of experience and imagination in identity, memory, and territoriality.

As artists in residence on the 2017 Canada C3 (Coast to Coast to Coast) expedition aboard the icebreaker MV Polar Prince, these artists joined a diverse group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous voyagers: scientists, musicians, elders, historians, newcomers, youth, journalists, athletes, writers, entrepreneurs, educators, and community leaders.

Open Channels implies the flow of navigable water. Sailing along Canada’s three coasts, through actual open channels via the fabled Northwest Passage, is a phenomenon borne of warming ocean temperatures, a disturbing augur of the advancing climate change that already affects Canada’s coastal communities.

The idea of flow also pertains to fostering dialogue between strangers, currents intertwining those aboard ship and those on the land. Through exchanges of listening and speaking, individual narratives of lived experience catalyzed the acknowledgement of the shadows of history over contemporary life.

The works of art now on view in the wake of this ambitious experiment are also in themselves channels, conduits inviting the inflow of attention to the vulnerability of the environment in the face of climate change; how cultures migrate, morph and persist; the precarity and promise of reconciliation, and the challenges and opportunities facing the next generation.

Melissa Rombout, Curator


More photos from the June 25, 2019 vernissage HERE

The Canada Council for the Arts: Open Channels/ Passages Communicants:


In the News

Title: From Ship to Shore 

Publisher: Above & Beyond – Canada’s Arctic Journal

Author: Melissa Rombout & Tara Mascarenhas

Date of Publication: October 31, 2019



Title: Five Horn Women in Style and Substance

Publisher: The Eastern Door

Author: Daniel J. Rowe

Date of Publication: July 9, 2019



Title: Passages communicants

Publisher: Radio Canada

Interviewer: Marilou Lamontagne

Date of Publication: June 26, 2019



TitleReview: Ottawa artists help capture Canada’s three coasts in Open Channels exhibition

Publisher: artsfile.

Author: Peter Simpson

Date of Publication: June 26, 2019



Title: 25 juin 2019 – TVA Nouvelles 18 h Gatineau-Ottawa

Publisher: TVA Gatineau-Ottawa

Date of Publication: June 25, 2019



Title: Passages communicants : un périple de 150 jours rarement vécu

Publisher: ICI Ottawa-Gatineau

Author: Marie-Ève DuSablon

Date of Publication: June 25, 2019