TORONTO — The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) today announces the appointment of Taqralik Partridge to the newly-created position of Associate Curator of Indigenous Art – Inuit Art Focus. Partridge is a curator, artist, performer, writer and spoken-word poet originally from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. In her new role within the AGO’s Department of Indigenous Art, Partridge will develop exhibitions, lead acquisitions, and champion new and diverse voices from across the circumpolar north.
“Inuit art and artists are at the forefront of conversations about climate change and community, belonging, beauty and sovereignty,” says Julian Cox, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, AGO. “The AGO’s extensive collection of Inuit Art is already world-renowned, and with the creation of this new position, we ready ourselves to amplify the urgency and global relevance of Inuit art, here and internationally.”
A co-curator and contributor to the AGO’s 2018 exhibition Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak, Partridge comes to the AGO from Galerie SAW Gallery in Ottawa, where she served as Director of Nordic Lab. Co-lead of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership project, her recent curatorial project Qautamaat | Every day / everyday, is currently on view at the Art Gallery of Guelph, where she worked as adjunct curator. As Associate Curator at the AGO, she has already led the acquisition of Inuit artworks at Art Toronto 2022, introducing four works by the multidisciplinary Inuvialuk artist Kablusiak and one by Kuujjuaq, Nunavik born Inuk artist Niap to the AGO Collection.
“ᓂᕆᐅᓇᖅᐳᖅ ᓴᓇᖃᑎᒋᑦᑎᐊᕐᓂᐊᖅᑕᒃᑲ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᓯᖏᑦ ᓴᓇᖃᑎᒋᓂᐊᖅᑕᒃᑲ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖑᔪᓄᑦ ᐅᑯᐊᓗ ᑐᑭᖃᑦᓯᐊᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓄᑦ ᓴᓇᖕᖑᐊᖅᑎᓄᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᓄᑦ,” ᐅᖃᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐸᑐᓕᑦᔅ. “ᐅᓇ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᔪᖅ ᒫᓐᓇᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᒻᒪᑲᓪᓚᓂᑦ ᓄᓇᖅᑲᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᓴᓇᑐᔫᖕᒪᑕ ᓴᓇᖃᑦᑕᖅᑕᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᓇᒥᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᓯᓚᕐᔪᐊᒥ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓴᓇᖕᖑᐊᖅᓯᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᐃᓚᒋᓪᓗᒍ ᑕᒪᑐᒧᖓ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖏᓐᓄᑦ.”
“I look forward to working with Inuit and other colleagues on projects that are meaningful to Inuit artists and communities,” says Partridge. “This is an important time in the history of Indigenous creative work around the world, and Inuit art is a significant part of this narrative.”
Launched in 2017, the AGO’s Department of Indigenous and Canadian Art is co-led by curators Wanda Nanibush and Georgiana Uhlyarik, and was created to better reflect the Nation to Nation relationship that underlines the treaty relationship that allowed Canada to come into existence. The department champions contemporary Indigenous artists, including First Nations, Inuit and Metis artists, from Canada and around the world through acquisitions, exhibitions and publications. Home to a collection of more than 5000 Inuit artworks, including the renowned Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection of Inuit Art, the department name acknowledges the historical and contemporary position of Indigenous Art as existing prior to and extending beyond Canada’s borders.
“A visionary community builder, Taqralik brings to the AGO’s Department of Indigenous Art an intimate knowledge of what it means to be an Inuit artist living and working in Canada, coupled with the skill to propel Inuit art and artists onto the global stage,” says Wanda Nanibush, Curator of Indigenous Art, AGO. “Her empathetic approach to storytelling shines in her art and in her curation. Welcome Taqralik.”
“On behalf of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership project and network, I am thrilled to offer our congratulations to the Art Gallery of Ontario for this historic appointment of Taqralik as the AGO’s first Inuk Associate Curator, Indigenous Art,” says Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Concordia University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts. “This represents a huge step forward for the AGO and the Inuit art world alike. Taqralik Partridge is a brilliant curator who centres Inuit knowledge, artists, community, and care in all her work. She is an insightful and creative professional who deeply understands Inuit artistic practices along a great continuum of artistic excellence and innovation and is, as such, an expert in bringing our ‘historical’ art into conversation with contemporary art practices. I look forward with great excitement to seeing what she will do at the institution in the coming years, especially given the AGO’s many impressive recent Indigenous art exhibitions and decolonial initiatives through the Department of Indigenous and Canadian Art.”
In 2023, the AGO’s Department of Indigenous Art will present solo exhibitions by Inuit artists Bill Nasogaluak, Ningiukulu Teevee and David Ruben Piqtoukun, and celebrate the opening of the original AGO exhibition Robert Houle: Red is Beautiful at the National Museum of the American Indian.
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ABOUT THE AGO
Located in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, attracting approximately one million visitors annually. The AGO Collection of more than 120,000 works of art ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, including solo exhibitions and acquisitions by diverse and underrepresented artists from around the world. In 2019, the AGO launched a bold new initiative designed to make the museum even more welcoming and accessible with the introduction of free admission for anyone 25 years and under and a $35 annual pass. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.
The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO Members, donors and private-sector partners.