Moving the Museum: Indigenous + Canadian Art at the AGO front cover.
Moving the Museum: Indigenous + Canadian Art at the AGO bookmarks a pivotal chapter in the AGO’s history as an art museum in Canada, ushered in by the renovation and re-opening of the J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous + Canadian Art, as well as the appointment of Wanda Nanibush and Georgiana Uhlyarik as curatorial co-leads of the Indigenous + Canadian Art department. The AGO also presented two major exhibitions to bolster this renewed focus—Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak, and Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental—both of which centre on contemporary Indigenous artists in the museum.
At the time of the J.S. McLean Centre’s unveiling in the summer 2018, Nanibush, AGO Curator, Indigenous Art, explained that this revitalization “enables the AGO to showcase contemporary Indigenous art, lead conversations with Canadian art, and to highlight critical discussions about identity, the environment, history and sovereignty.” Uhlyarik, the AGO’s Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art, stated further that the Centre allows for artists to be placed at the forefront of critical conversations, “to tell stories from new perspectives and engage visitors with the very best works – both new and familiar – from the Gallery’s Indigenous and Canadian collection.”
In the years since then, both Nanibush and Uhlyarik have sought centre Indigenous art in the museum space. Moving the Museum reflects this intention by inviting readers and museum-goers to connect with art that addresses issues distinct to the Indigenous experience in Canada—that of the land, water, origin, identity, sovereignty and colonization. With text in English and passages in Anishinaabemowin and Inuktitut, the catalogue showcases essays and over 100 vibrant reproductions of Indigenous and Canadian work from the AGO Collection. Among the featured First Nations artists are Rebecca Belmore, Carl Beam and Kent Monkman, alongside Inuit artists such as Shuvinai Ashoona and Annie Pootoogook. Notable Canadian artists featured include Lawren Harris, Kazuo Nakamura and Joyce Wieland. Ultimately, this volume underscores the nation-to-nation treaty relationship that is the foundation of Canada.
Published by AGO in association with Goose Lane Editions, Moving the Museum: Indigenous + Canadian Art at the AGO is now available to purchase. Pick up your copy online and in person at shop AGO.