The Ties That Bind

October 8th, 2022 – August 20th, 2023

Experience this exhibition through a new 360 tour!

Feeling connected is a fundamental psychological need. In nature, ecosystems depend on interactions and connections in order to thrive.  Similarly, humans flourish through connections that are physical, emotional, and social. However, the desire to connect can go beyond relationships. As we have seen through the pandemic, there are benefits to connecting to nature—it can calm your nervous system and help to experience the world around you more deeply. Exploring personal and collective histories can also connect us with our roots, and situate us within the wider community. It provides a sense of belonging and understanding that can help shape perspectives and a sense of self.

Sean McQuay (Canadian, b.1956), Island Pipes (The Maither/The Faither), 1992, oil on canvas. Purchase, 1993.

The RMG believes that art cultivates connected and caring communities, and engagement with the Permanent Collection plays an important role in fostering this. With over 4,700 artworks, the shape and understanding of the Collection is continuously evolving through the acquisition of new work and exploration within exhibitions. This thematic Permanent Collection exhibition takes inspiration from the title of a new acquisition by Shellie Zhang entitled The Ties that Bind.

Shellie Zhang (Canadian, b. Beijing 1991), The Ties that Bind, 2018, chromogenic print. Purchase of the RMG, 2021.

After two years of feeling disconnected, this exhibition pulls together artwork that reflects on the different ways we seek connections, whether through relationships, finding peace and perspective in nature, or exploring shared histories.


This exhibition is funded in part by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.