Art in the Spotlight: Decolonizing Museums and Collections in partnership with Art Toronto
Images l-r: Larry Ossei-Mensah by Julien Gremaud; Julie Nagam courtesy of the speaker; Julie Crooks by the AGO; Sandra Jackson Dumont by Rebecca Schear; Wanda Nanibush by the AGO
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Art in the Spotlight: Decolonizing Museums and Collections in partnership with Art Toronto
Join the Art Gallery of Ontario for an in-depth conversation on the ongoing process of decolonizing collections and shifting institutional space towards greater equity. The discussion will be moderated by Wanda Nanibush, Curator of Indigenous Art at the AGO, and will feature independent and institutional curators from both Canada and the USA – Julie Crooks, Associate Curator, Photography, AGO; Julie Nagam, Canadian Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Collaboration and Digital Media and Associate Professor, University of Winnipeg; Larry Ossei-Mensah, Independent Curator, and Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Director and CEO, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.
Larry Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. The Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe from New York City to Rome featuring artists such as Firelei Baez, Allison Janae Hamilton, Brendan Fernades, Ebony G. Patterson, Glenn Kaino, and Stanley Whitney to name a few. Moreover, Ossei-Mensah has actively documented cultural happenings featuring the most dynamic visual artists working today such as Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Federico Solmi, and Kehinde Wiley.
A native of The Bronx, Ossei-Mensah is also the co-founder of ARTNOIR, a 501(c)(3) and global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class. ARTNOIR endeavors to celebrate the artistry and creativity by Black and Brown artists around the world via virtual and in person experiences. Ossei-Mensah is a contributor to the first ever Ghanaian Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennial with an essay on the work of visual artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Ossei-Mensah is the former Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD in Detroit. He recently co-curated in 2019 with Dexter Wimberly the critically acclaimed exhibition at MOAD in San Francisco Coffee, Rhum, Sugar, Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox in Spring/Summer 2019. He has currented Parallels and Peripheries (2018) in addition to On the Road (2019) at Oolite ArtsOssei-Mensah currently serves as guest curator at BAM's Rudin Family Gallery. He also will be co-curating with Omsk Social Club 7th Athens Biennale in Athens, Greece in Spring 2021. Ossei-Mensah was recently included in Artnet’s 2020 Innovator List.
Ossei-Mensah has had recent profiles in such publications like the NY Times, Artsy, and Cultured Magazine, which recently named him one of seven curators to watch in 2019. Follow him on Instagram/Twitter at @youngglobal or www.larryosseimensah.com.
Sandra Jackson-Dumont joined the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art as director and CEO in January 2020. Tasked with leading the institution through its opening and beyond, Jackson-Dumont came to the Lucas Museum from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she served as the Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education from 2014 to 2019.
At the Lucas Museum, Jackson-Dumont oversees wide-ranging programming and operational teams and will manage a staff of more than 230 by the time the museum opens. She leads the curatorial, museum experience, education, and collections management teams in exploring the extensive collection and developing exhibitions and programs for the museum’s extensive gallery and classroom spaces. The Lucas Museum broke ground in March 2018 in Los Angeles’s Exposition Park, and Jackson-Dumont also works with the architecture and construction teams to bring architect Ma Yansong’s vision for the 11-acre campus and 300,000-square-foot building to life. Jackson-Dumont reports to the Lucas Museum’s board of directors.
Throughout her career, Jackson-Dumont has developed programming around museum collections and special exhibitions to engage a broad range of audiences, from school-age children and their teachers to artists and scholars. At The Met, Jackson-Dumont conceived of and managed an array of dynamic public programs, community engagement and academic initiatives, and live arts performances for diverse audiences. Jackson-Dumont also served for eight years as the deputy director for education and public programs and adjunct curator of modern and contemporary art at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). There, she oversaw educational public programs, interpretive technology, and community affairs across the museum’s three venues, as well as organized significant exhibitions and collaborative projects on the work of Theaster Gates, Titus Kaphar, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Sondra Perry, among others. Prior to that, Jackson-Dumont held positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other cultural organizations.
Known for her ability to blur the lines between academia, popular culture, and non-traditional art-going communities, Jackson-Dumont is invested in curating experiences that foster dynamic exchanges between art/artists, past/present, public/private, and people/places. She has organized numerous exhibitions, lectures, performances, symposia, and education initiatives and has contributed essays to a host of publications and worked with numerous artists.
Dr. Julie Nagam is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts, Collaboration and Digital Media and the former Research Chair of Indigenous Arts of North America which was a joint position with the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Dr. Nagam is an Associate Professor in the department of Art History at the University of Winnipeg. She is the inaugural Artistic Director for 2020/21 for Nuit Blanche Toronto, the largest public exhibition in North America. Dr. Nagam is the Director of the Aabijijiwan New Media Lab and the Co-Director of the Kishaadigeh Collaborative Research Centre (https://aabijijiwanmedialab.ca).
Dr. Nagam is a collective member of GLAM (https://glamcollective.ca), which works on curatorial activism, Indigenous methodologies, public art, digital technologies, and engagement with place. As a scholar and artist she is interested in revealing the ontology of land, which contains memory, knowledge and living histories. Dr. Nagam’s scholarship, curatorial and artistic practice has been featured nationally and internationally.
Dr. Nagam's SSHRC research includes digital makerspaces + incubators, mentorship, digital media + design, international collaborations and place-based knowledge. She is the Principal Investigator of the SSHRC Partnership Development Grant “The Space Between Us: Co(lab)orations within Indigenous, Circumpolar and Pacific Places Through Digital Media and Design.” She is a co-investigator on a number of SSHRC Partnership Grants. As part of the partnership Initiative for Indigenous Futures, Dr. Nagam organized and hosted the 2017 symposium The Future is Indigenous (http://indigenousfutures.net/symposia/3rd-annual-symposium/). This symposium brought together over 45 speakers from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, and the United States to present their visions of the future of Indigenous people. At the same time hosted the International Indigenous curators exchange. In 2016, she co-edited Indigenous Art, New Media and the Digital special issue of PUBLIC Art, Culture + Ideas. She recently led and co-edited Becoming our Futures: Global Indigenous Curatorial Practice with ARP press, based on the international curatorial exchange with Australia and New Zealand
Julie Crooks is the Assistant Curator, Photography at the AGO, and her first exhibition in that role was Free Black North (April 29–August 20, 2017). She received her PhD in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where her research focused on historical photography in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and the diaspora. Prior to joining the AGO, Crooks curated and co-curated a number of exhibitions in Toronto, including No Justice, No Peace: From Ferguson to Toronto in February 2017, co-curated with Reese de Guzman (co-organized by the Ryerson Image Centre and BAND). Julie is also the co-curator for the Of Africa project at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum. Her most recent exhibitions include Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art (2018), co-curated with Silvia Forni and Dominique Fontaine, and Cutting a Figure: Black Style through the Lens of Charles “Teenie” Harris (2018)
Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe curator, image and word warrior from Beausoleil First Nation. Currently she is Curator, Indigenous Art and co-lead of the Indigenous + Canadian Art Department at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Nanibush’s recent exhibitions Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental (AGO); Sovereign Acts (University of Toronto Art Museum); and Nanabozho’s Sisters(Dalhousie Art Gallery) are touring. She co-curated the J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous + Canadian Art and Rita Letendre: Fire & Light with Georgiana Uhlyarik. Nanibush’s exhibition Toronto: Tributes & Tributaries, 1971-1989 (AGO) included over 100 artists. She has published widely in catalogs on many artists as well as magazines such as Art in America, Aperture, C Magazine and Canadian Art. Nanibush’s essays have appeared in many books including: Archi-Feministes!: Contemporary Art, Feminist Theory; The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, The Future, and the Idle No More Movement; Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp; Time, Temporality and Violence in International Relations: (De)fatalizing the Present, Forging Radical Alternatives; Women in a Globalizing World: Equality, Development, Diversity and Peace. Nanibush has also taught graduate courses at the University of Toronto and OCADU.