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The National Gallery of Canada in conjunction with the National Gallery of Canada Foundation has announced the creation of the Canadian Photography Institute, a national research and exhibition centre of excellence devoted to photography. The Institute will foster transformative partnerships and cooperation opportunities worldwide for the integrated study of its collection, drawing upon a broad range of disciplines interested in social, cultural, aesthetic, scientific and historical issues.

The National Gallery’s ambitious photography initiative will be supported through a partnership of unprecedented scope with collector and philanthropist David Thomson, Chairman of Thomson Reuters Corporation. The creation of the Institute is also being made possible by Scotiabank with the largest corporate financial donation ever made to the Gallery.

These transformative gifts will allow the National Gallery of Canada to take its place among the very deepest, most comprehensive, and broadly useful public collections of photographs in the world. Indeed, the scale of the Canadian Photography Institute is such that we will be able to entirely reimagine how to collect, present, study, preserve and disseminate our photographs collection, while enabling countless others to reach a greater understanding of humankind through the culture of pictures” stated Gallery Director and Chief Executive Officer Marc Mayer. “We are profoundly grateful to David Thomson and to Scotiabank for their magnanimity and for their trust”, he added.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, is delighted to be part of this announcement. “I commend the National Gallery of Canada on the creation of the Canadian Photography Institute. Thanks to its partnership efforts, the visual arts community and Canadians will benefit from a national research and exhibition centre that presents and preserves an outstanding collection of photographic works. This is a fine example of how important philanthropy is to our cultural institutions.

Housed within the National Gallery of Canada, the Institute will expand upon the renowned national collection of photographs, to establish one of the world’s most important and comprehensive collections covering the entire history of the photographic medium.

Scotiabank has pledged $10 million as the Founding Partner and the exclusive donor from the financial services sector to the Canadian Photography Institute, in support of programs and research. The gift is the largest donation in Scotiabank’s 183-year history and celebrates its ongoing commitment to photography in Canada. In recognition of this outstanding financial support, the National Gallery of Canada also announced today that its Great Hall will be renamed the Scotiabank Great Hall. “Scotiabank has a long history of supporting arts, culture, and heritage in communities across Canada,” said Brian Porter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Scotiabank. “We are proud to partner with the National Gallery of Canada and David Thomson in the creation of the Canadian Photography Institute, which will showcase Canadian and international photographic works at the National Gallery and through the auspices of the Gallery across Canada and around the world.

Mr. David Thomson has agreed to support the Gallery in building the Institute’s collection through an evolving series of donations and acquisitions over the next ten years. A long-standing patron of the Gallery, Mr. Thomson will have donated in 2015 alone over 12,000 photographs, books and related objects from his own rare Origins of Photography collection. Mr. Thomson hopes that this partnership will attract other major donations and support that will fortify the Canadian Photography Institute as a global leader.

Thomas d’Aquino, Chair of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, saluted the creation of the Canadian Photography Institute “as an historic first for the Gallery, the launch of a centre of national and global importance. It also signals the triumph of a creative partnership of David Thomson, Scotiabank, the National Gallery of Canada and the Gallery Foundation. This is farsighted philanthropy at its best,” he said.

More information about the Canadian Photography Institute can be found on the Gallery’s website: gallery.ca/cpi

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