More than 80 works by artists across Canada will make up what National Gallery of Canada director Marc Mayer called “probably the most meaningful exhibition we’re going to do this year.”

The gallery’s inaugural biennial exhibition, It Is What It Is: Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian Art, “is important to us because one of our central activities is the collecting of Canadian contemporary art,” Mayer said Thursday.

The exhibition brings together works that were acquired in the last two years and include pieces from the NGC’s collections of Indigenous and contemporary art, as well as pieces from the Canadian Museum of Canadian Contemporary Photography.

It Is What it Is “provides an excellent reference point for understanding the creative spirit that flourishes in our country today,” said Mayer.

Finding a title for the exhibit was challenging, due to the non-thematic nature of the works, said curator of contemporary art Josée Drouin-Brisebois.

“Every title that we put on the show seemed to qualify it too much,” she said. “So I looked at one of the works in the exhibition, by Ron Terada, and it was called It Is What It Is: It Was What It Was.

“It’s a pretty good analogy for this exhibition.”