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18 Years of Maman: Ottawa’s 3.2 Million Dollar Spider Statue

Erected at the National Gallery in the spring of 2005, Ottawa’s Maman is one of six by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois.


Bourgeois was born in France and moved to the US in 1938 where she worked as an artist her entire life. She created Maman at the age of 87 in 1999 in memory of her mother, and the six casts were made four years later. She died in 2010 at the age of 98.


When the statue was bought in 2005, it was the most expensive purchase the National Gallery had ever undertaken, at a price tag of 3.2 million. Not only did it take up a third of the gallery’s procurement budget at the time, but stood as a huge commitment of space – towering infront of the gallery at a height of 9.25 metres tall.


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Ontem começamos os passeios na magnífica Ottawa, capital do Canadá. 🇨🇦 Estamos simplesmente apaixonados pela cidade! 😍❤️ Visitamos o Parliament Hill, a Notre-Dame Cathedral, a Maman (escultura da foto) e o Nepean Point. Também tomamos gelato em uma das gelaterias mais tradicionais da cidade. 😋🍨 Vejam mais em nossos stories. Yesterday we started the tours in the stunning Ottawa, Canada’s capital. 🇨🇦 We're simply in love with the city! 😍❤️ We visited Parliament Hill, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Maman (picture) and the Nepean Point. We also had gelato in one of the city's most traditional gelaterias. 😋🍨 See more in our stories. #WeLoveOttawa

A post shared by Will e Greg em Vancouver 🇨🇦 (@willegreg) on


This was intentional by the Gallery. Not only did it join other collections in London, Spain, Tokyo, South Korea, Qatar and the US in owning one of the six rare casts, the size and irregularity of the statue made it a good talking point. As the Gallery’s curator David Franklin told CBC in 2005, he wanted people to stop and look; to attract new eyes to the gallery.


18 years later, Maman still stands tall in Ottawa’s downtown and certainly still attracts new eyes and discussions; from arachnophobics to Maman fans alike.


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