Greater Montreal campaign

May 3, 2018 11:36 am
Updated: May 3, 2018 3:59 pm

#GreatMTLer: Nathalie Bondil is an icon of Montreal’s art scene

WATCH: As director and chief curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), Nathalie Bondil is a busy woman. Global News Montreal Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard speaks to this great Montrealer about how she’s not afraid to take creative chances.

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As director and chief curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), Nathalie Bondil is a busy woman.

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“This museum is also a mirror of the dynamism of the city and I think everything is possible because the city makes it possible,” she told Global News.

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Born in Spain and raised in Morocco, Bondil is a dual Canadian and French citizen. Montreal has been her home for almost two decades now.

“I decided 18 years ago to come to Montreal and I really feel in love with the city and the country and now I’m a very proud Canadian citizen,” she said.

Bondil has worked at the museum since 1999 and was appointed to the top job in 2007 — the first woman ever to hold that position.

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The museum welcomed a record 1.3 million visitors last year.

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She said she’s not afraid to take creative chances, inviting fashion houses into the museum with retrospectives of Yves Saint Laurent and Jean-Paul Gauthier — a collection that has now toured all over the world.

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“Jean-Paul did accept [to collaborate] with us, with me, at the very beginning of this fabulous adventure,” Bondil told Global News.

“Now, I’m so happy because after almost a decade, the exhibition is still on the road and we just opened in Buenos Aires last week.”

The Gauthier exhibit was just one in a series of innovative ideas that helped put the MMFA on the world stage — others include the introduction of music and the opening of a new pavilion for peace in 2016.

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For us, it was obvious that we have to open the doors to all the people to see this,” she said.

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“The mission of a museum is not just about making exhibitions, keeping good collections, but also improving your life.”

Her work hasn’t gone unnoticed; Bondil has been awarded a diamond jubilee and received a medal from the Quebec national assembly and the Order of Canada.

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