Aboriginal arts

Aboriginal arts form the basis of a distinct and truly Canadian visual experience. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) leads the way in its support of Aboriginal art and of those who create it.

Aboriginal arts resources

Aboriginal Art Centre

The Aboriginal Art Centre at AANDC is responsible for the development, preservation and promotion of the department's Aboriginal Art Collection which includes more than 4,000 works.

Lending Program

AANDC's Aboriginal Art Collection includes works by prominent, emerging and mid-career First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists. Artworks are used to promote the mandate of AANDC through loans to our offices at headquarters and at regional offices. Works of art are also loaned to Aboriginal cultural centres, and to regional and national art institutions for exhibition purposes. View the Aboriginal Art Centre's exhibition loan history from 2005 to 2013.

For more information on the art lending program for exhibitions, please contact the Aboriginal Art Centre at Art@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca.

AANDC’s Aboriginal Art Collection

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada was the first federal government institution to support the development of Canadian Aboriginal art in the 1960s. The more than 4000 artworks in the AANDC Aboriginal Art Collection were obtained through various acquisition and exhibition programs, as well as gifts and donations. The acquisition of art directly from the artists and their representatives over the past 50 years has made the AANDC Aboriginal Art Collection one of the most important and comprehensive art collections of contemporary Canadian Aboriginal art in Canada.

  • AANDC's Aboriginal Art Collection includes the Alberta Art Collection, the Archival Collection, the Dewdney Collection, the Inuit Art Collection, and the Resource Collection.
  • The Alberta Art Collection was acquired in 1990 from the Alberta Indian Arts and Crafts Society auction. The 220 works of art include cultural art forms, paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture.
  • The Archival Collection includes artworks and original art books that are not for loan but for research purposes only.
  • The Dewdney Collection (181 pieces) includes various works of art by the artist Norval Morrisseau (1932-2007), and correspondence from 1960 to 1977 between Morrisseau and Selwyn H. Dewdney (1909-1979), authors of Legends of my People: The Great Ojibway (1965).
  • The Resource Collection includes traditional artwork, commercial prints and posters of contemporary artwork, documentation, videos and audio tapes that are used for educational/teaching purposes such as school visits and demonstrations.
  • Images of the artists' artworks in AANDC's Aboriginal Art Collection are protected by Canadian Copyright Law and require the artist's written permission for reproduction and exhibition. CARFAC fees are paid to the artists for reproduction and exhibition rights.
  • For more information on AANDC's Aboriginal Art Collection, contact Art@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

Artist directory

This artist directory is a list of First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists whose works are included in AANDC's Aboriginal Art Collection.

The Aboriginal Art Acquisition Program

The AANDC Aboriginal Art Centre conducts an active, on-going acquisition program. Calls for submissions are initiated Canada-wide, inviting artists of First Nations, Métis or Inuit ancestry to submit works for selection by peer jury. Please see the links below for works acquired in the last decade through Art Acquisition Program. The next submission deadline will be announced at a later date.

Results of the Aboriginal Art Acquisition Program

Resource Library

The Resource Library materials include:

  • Files for artists in the AANDC Aboriginal Art Collection;
  • 35 mm slides and digital images of the AANDC Aboriginal Art Collection;
  • exhibition catalogues from 1959 to the present;
  • reports and studies on Aboriginal art;
  • art magazines, periodicals and publications on Aboriginal art and culture; and
  • audio (cassette) and video (VHS) and DVD tapes.

Resource material in the AANDC Aboriginal Art Centre may not be borrowed and may be viewed onsite by appointment only.

AANDC Art Gallery

The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Art Gallery


Aboriginal Art Centre
Lobby, 10 Wellington Street
Gatineau, Québec

The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Art Gallery features works of art from the AANDC's Aboriginal Art Collection and is managed by the Aboriginal Art Centre. The Exhibition schedule lists the exhibits that have been recently featured.

Online art gallery

Welcome to Beyond Recognition: Aboriginal Abstractions, an online gallery complementing an exhibition curated by Michelle McGeough (Métis), and organized by the Aboriginal Art Centre. Beyond Recognition: Aboriginal Abstractions was originally exhibited in the AANDC Art Gallery in Gatineau, Quebec, from January 27 to April 25, 2014.

Contact us

For more information on any of our programs our services, please contact us:

Aboriginal Art Centre,
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada,
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière, Room 928,
10 Wellington Street.
Gatineau, Québec
K1A 0H4

Telephone: (819) 994-1262
Facsimile: (819) 953-0165

(Access to research facilities by appointment only)