Press Room





Douglas Coupland premieres his latest work The National Portrait at the new Ottawa Art Gallery

Ottawa, ON (21 June 2018) - Celebrated Canadian novelist and artist, Douglas Coupland, unveils his latest work The National Portrait at the Ottawa Art Gallery on June 29, 2018. In partnership with Canadian fashion retailer Simons, Coupland has created a 3D portrait of Canadians in the twenty-first century. The National Portrait is a collection of 3D printed portraits arranged in a garden-like formation with faces looking forward towards both the sun and the future. Gold and silver metallic finishes adds richness to the sculpture’s components which sit atop risers, as Coupland describes “hijacking the aesthetics of retail display.”

“We are so pleased to debut Douglas Coupland’s The National Portrait, commissioned by Simons, at the new Ottawa Art Gallery during Canada Day and throughout the summer.  This bold new work by one of Canada’s most important contemporary artists and cultural critics draws the viewer into a spectacle of faces reflecting not only a diversity of experiences but the democratization and proliferation of the portrait as an art form.”
-Alexandra Badzak, Ottawa Art Gallery, Director and Chief Executive Officer

Coupland’s ambitious large-scale installation is made from hundreds of 3D-printed portraits scanned voluntarily from members of the public at Simons store locations on a cross-country tour. This crowd-sourced artistic initiative ran from July 2015 until April 2017, and included stops in nine cities: Quebec City, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, Mississauga, Ottawa, Calgary, Yellowknife and Halifax. Each participant received a hand-sized version of their own 3D printed bust.

Commissioned by Simons and in keeping with their commitment to local arts and culture, the project also highlights the retailer’s expansion across Canada. As described by President Peter Simons, “The National Portrait is much more than a Simons project. As we traveled from city to city, it quickly became a national piece of art using technology that people were fascinated to experience as they watched their own 3D portraits being printed. Unveiling The National Portrait in the nation’s capital is quite fitting.”

Presented by Simons in partnership with Ottawa Art Gallery

Exhibition Dates: June 29, 2018 – August 19, 2018

The National Portrait: By the Numbers

1,700 total number of heads scanned

1,000 total number of heads in the piece

70 kilometers of biodegradable plastic filament used

11 months to print all the pieces of the sculpture

15 3D printers used

Media previews and one-on-one interviews with Douglas Coupland or Alexandra Badzak will be held on June 28th at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Those who are unable to attend are also able to request phone interviews and high res photos of the exhibit.

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Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)

OAG is Ottawa municipal’s art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.

For media enquiries, photos, or to set-up interviews please contact:

Véronique Couillard
Ottawa Art Gallery
613-233-8699, x244

Andrea Chrysanthou
Global Public Affairs


About Simons

Simons was founded in 1840 by John Simons as a dry goods store in Quebec City and has since built its reputation on being an accessible and inspired fashion brand. Simons is led by brothers Peter and Richard Simons who carry on the family legacy and the brand’s commitment to cultivating creativity and building meaningful relationships with staff, partners and customers. All 15 Simons stores are compelling, original environments that inspire customers through fashion, art and architecture.



Mayor Watson calls new gallery a “premier hub for our rich, vibrant and diverse Arts Community.”

Today the new Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) opened to the public, offering a new centre for culture in the city. The inauguration marks a significant moment for Ottawa’s cultural landscape and artistic community, as the new OAG houses galleries for special projects, a permanent collection and the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art. Along with the expanded space, the OAG debuted a spectacular exhibition showcasing the region’s rich art history. Àdisòkàmagan / Nous connaître un peu nous-mêmes / We’ll all become stories, is a landmark exhibition of unparalleled scale honouring over 6,500 years of art making in Ottawa-Gatineau.

“The province welcomes this exciting addition to Ottawa’s cultural scene,” said Daiene Vernile, Ontario Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport.  “The new, expanded space allows the Ottawa Art Gallery to provide an inclusive place to showcase the wonderful breadth of historic and contemporary Canadian art.”

‘’The opening of the new Ottawa Art Gallery marks a significant moment in our city’s history and culture. The newly expanded facility will serve as Ottawa’s premier hub for our rich, vibrant and diverse Arts Community. Congratulations to our local arts leaders who worked tirelessly with the City to turn this 30-year-old dream into a reality. Through the collaboration between OAG, community partners and all three levels of government, Ottawa now has a new home for its most important works of arts; an exciting space to share these Canadians treasures with residents and visitors from around the world.’’ - Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa

A major cultural investment, the new OAG spans six floors and more than 55 000 square feet of programmable space. The stunning contemporary new building offers glimpses of the urban core and includes rotating galleries for historical, contemporary and touring exhibitions, an art studio, two rooftop terraces, a large multi-purpose room and a café all provided within a barrier-free environment complete. The new OAG has fully accessible entrances, gender neutral washrooms and offers free child-care Wednesday evenings and during vernissages. Admission to the new OAG is always free and its operating hours are 9 am to 9 pm, every day.

‘’The new Ottawa Art Gallery has been designed with a sense of interconnectivity, manifested not only in the beautiful architecture, but also in its approach to community. You will see a gallery that is accessible, breaks down barriers to participation, a gallery that is free and open when you need it to be, a gallery that embraces diversity, a gallery for you.’’ -Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Art Gallery

The OAG is part of a multi-use complex that also incorporates an exciting private sector mixed-use residential complex, Arthaus condominiums by DevMcGill, and a boutique hotel by Groupe Germain Hotels.

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For media enquiries, or to set-up interviews please contact:

Véronique Couillard
Ottawa Art Gallery
613-233-8699, x244

Andrea Chrysanthou
Global Public Affairs

Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)
OAG is Ottawa municipal’s art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.

Click on the title of the press release below to open a PDF copy. 

Ottawa Art Gallery Reveals Creative Team Behind Jackson Café
February 21, 2018

Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion Opens April 28th
January 30, 2018

First Publication of its Kind – A Visual Exploration of the Art Produced in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region Going Back 6500 Years.
November 30, 2017 


Véronique Couillard, Public and Media Relations Manager
613-233-8699 +244

Amity Bradbury, Communications and Marketing Coordinator
613-233-8699 +235