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.


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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