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Karsh-Masson Gallery

Location and hours

Karsh-Masson Gallery
City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 1J1

Open daily 9 am to 8 pm, including holidays.

Free admission. Wheelchair accessible. Parking available. 

613-580-2424 ext. 14167
TTY: 613-580-2401

Named for renowned portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh and painter Henri Masson, this municipal gallery features artwork by local, national and international professional artists working in various styles and mediums. 

Exhibits on display at Karsh-Masson Gallery have been selected by an independent, professional arts jury. The artwork, themes, points of view or comments conveyed in each exhibit are those of the artist and do not represent those of the City of Ottawa.

Current exhibition

In recognition of Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017, the City invited professional artists, artist collectives and curators working in visual arts, media arts and fine craft to propose exhibitions that address the theme of mapping.

“Mapping is a fundamental way of converting personal knowledge to transmittable knowledge.”-Arthur Howard Robinson, The Nature of Maps

Mapping includes ways of knowing, organizing and presenting the world as well as our place in it and in relation to others. It helps us track where we’ve been and where we’re going. In addition to cartography, the term mapping has been used in reference to biological, psychological and digital terrains, among others. Mapping can be physical, cultural and emotional. Like an art practice it is a process in constant transformation.

Khadija Baker – Behind Walls/Maps 

November 2 to December 3, 2017

Vernissage & tour with the artist:
Thursday, November 2, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Tour begins at 6:00 p.m.

Catalogue excerpt

In her multimedia installation Behind Walls/Maps, […] Khadija Baker addresses herself to the experience of the Kurds in Syria. In 1962, many Kurds found themselves deprived of nationality following an exceptional census, along with various rights and privileges: easy access to schools, travel, home ownership, government jobs, and more. Other measures have included bans on the Kurdish language, and the replacement of Kurdish city and village names with new, Arabic designations.

In Behind Walls/Maps, Baker […] present[s] an image of cultural erasure through geographical markers and a careful selection of media. Arranged across the installation floor are eighty weighted clay spheres, each inscribed with the name of a renamed Kurdish city. Attached to the spheres are fabric strings woven from used garments, which form a criss-crossing network suspended from the ceiling. At the same time, video projections of the renamed cities’ and villages’ new, Arabic names fade in and out on the floor.

-Excerpt from the essay by Edwin Janzen

Khadija Baker, Behind Walls/Maps (installation view), 2008, 80 clay spheres, strings spun from clothing, sand, audio and video, variable dimensions. Photo: Guy L'Heureux. Courtesy of the artist.

Khadija Baker, Behind Walls/Maps (installation view), 2008, 80 clay spheres, strings spun from clothing, sand, audio and video, variable dimensions. Photo: Guy L'Heureux. Courtesy of the artist.


Khadija Baker ’s work explores social and political themes related to persecution, displacement, and memory. Her current research combines performance, fibres, sound and video to create intimate, site-specific installation environments, breaching the divide between artist, art and public, and creating active spaces of exchange and storytelling. She has shown her work nationally and internationally, and has received numerous grants. Since 2013, Baker has been a core member of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and is a visiting researcher at Concordia University’s SenseLab. Born in Amoude, Syria, Baker has lived and worked in Montreal since 2001. She holds an MFA from Concordia University (2012).

Upcoming exhibitions

Mélanie Myers – Ce qui touche au sol (What Touches the Ground)

December 14, 2017 to January 21, 2018

Vernissage: Thursday, December 14, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Mélanie Myers uses drawing and the fabrication of objects to modify the all too familiar urban environment. Ce qui touche au sol (What Touches the Ground) is an observation of systems and incentive measures put in place to ensure the adequate administration of a city. To highlight certain variances in conduct, the spaces assigned to the residence and the landscape, as well as to traffic and contemplation, are represented in a realistic yet improbable way.

Example of Mélanie Myer's work

Mélanie Myers, Programme Floral CCN, 2017, coloured pencil on paper, 140 x 116 cm. Photo: Valérie Mercier. Courtesy of the artist.

An example of Mélanie Myers work

Mélanie Myers, Ma parole contre la sienne, 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 137 x 127 cm. Photo: Valérie Mercier. Courtesy of the artist.


Mélanie Myers lives and works in Hull, Gatineau. She holds a master’s degree in Visual Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2013), as well as a bachelor’s degree in Art and Design from the Université du Québec en Outaouais (2008). In production, she reconfigures space and describes situations through her installations and drawings. Myers process touches on various fields of interest: safety, reality, error and the middle class. Her projects have been supported by the CALQ and exhibited in several Canadian art centres and galleries, including the Galerie UQO, the Forest City Gallery and the Anna Leonowens Gallery. She has completed residencies at the Centre Bang and the Maison Scott-Fairview (2017), and works as a project manager at AXENÉO7.

Public consultation: 2018 exhibitions

Posted August 31, 2017

The 30 day consultation period is now closed. The final exhibition schedule for the Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery 2018 exhibition season will be announced in November 2017. More information about the 30 day public consultation process is included in section 4.2 of the Public Art Policy. Thank you for your participation in this review process.

Call for proposals: 2018 exhibitions

Public Art Program – Karsh-Masson‎ Gallery & City Hall Art Gallery

This competition is now closed. The Call for proposals: 2019 exhibitions at Karsh-Masson‎ and City Hall art galleries will be announced in February 2018. To receive emails about gallery exhibitions, programming and calls for proposals, email with the subject line “subscribe – exhibitions.”

Once a year, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program invites professional artists and curators to propose exhibitions. Proposals are reviewed by a peer assessment committee and selected exhibitions will be presented at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery the following year.

Exhibitions at Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries feature the work of professional artists working in visual art, media art and fine craft, including solo, two-person and group exhibitions; curated exhibitions; exhibitions from the diplomatic sector, and circulating exhibitions from other institutions. Annual programming includes artist talks, tours and panel discussions as well as one exhibition of the City of Ottawa Art Collection and one exhibition of artwork by a graduating student from the University of Ottawa MFA program.


  • This call for proposals is open to professional visual artists and curators who are emerging, mid-career or established, and working in visual art, media art, fine craft, design and other new art forms. A professional artist is someone who has specialized training in his or her artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions), who is recognized by his or her peers as such, is committed to his or her artistic activity, and has a history of public presentation.
  • Applicants who have exhibited at Karsh-Masson Gallery within the last two consecutive years are not eligible to apply. City of Ottawa employees and elected representatives are not eligible to apply.

The City of Ottawa supports cultural activity that is inclusive of Ottawa's diverse community, including people from diverse ancestries, abilities, ages, countries of origin, cultures, genders, incomes, languages, races and sexual orientations. The City of Ottawa recognizes the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation as Ottawa’s Indigenous Host Nation. Applications from artists and curators of diverse origins including First Nations, Inuit and Métis are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.


All eligible proposals are reviewed by a peer assessment committee based on the following criteria:

  • artistic merit and professionalism
  • regional importance and innovation
  • quality and cohesiveness of the artwork examples and the written proposal statement
  • appropriateness of the proposal to the public nature of the gallery space