INUA: New Ways Forward in Inuit Exhibition Practices

Concordia University Research Chair in Circumpolar Arts

The exhibition INUA: Inuit Nunangat Ungammuaktut Atautikkut | Inuit Moving Forward Together (March 2021-April 2022), the inaugural exhibition of Qaumajuq – the new Inuit art centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery – provided a unique opportunity to the all-Inuit curatorial team to explore culturally sovereign exhibition practices both within and beyond western art historical frames, and to articulate distinctly Inuit ways of working in the arts.

Special thank you to Augatnaaq Eccles for closed caption translation.

In this presentation by the lead guest curator of INUA, Dr. Heather Igloliorte explores the innovations and continuities manifested by the curatorial team and a host of other Inuit interlocuters who worked on the project, who collectively work towards the articulation of a new, self-determined future for Inuit exhibition practices.

Poster for the 2022 Shirley Thomson Lecture

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Dr. Heather Igloliorte (Concordia University)

Dr. Heather Igloliorte, an Inuk and Newfoundlander from Nunatsiavut, holds the University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts at Concordia University, where she is an associate professor in the department of art history and co-directs the Indigenous Futures Research Centre. Trained at NSCAD before completing both graduate degrees at Carleton University, she is the first Inuk to hold a PhD in art history in Canada and has been an independent curator for sixteen years.

She has devoted much of her scholarly and curatorial career to amplifying the voices of Inuit and other Indigenous artists, writers, curators and cultural workers, particularly through her work as the director of the nation-wide Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project (2018-2025), an initiative that supports Inuit postsecondary students to explore professional career paths in all aspects of the arts, including collections management, curatorial practice, arts administration and other areas of the visual and performing arts, in order to address the longstanding absence of Inuit in agential positions within Canadian art history and museum practice.  

Igloliorte publishes frequently on Indigenous art; she has co-edited special issues of journals PUBLIC 54: Indigenous Art: New Media and the Digital (2016) and RACAR: Continuities Between Eras: Indigenous arts (2017) and is currently co-editing four books which will be released throughout 2022 by Routledge, Canadian Heritage, Goose Lane, and the Ellen Gallery in Montreal. Igloliorte also serves as the Co-Chair of the Indigenous Circle for the Winnipeg Art Gallery; as the President of the Board of Directors of the Inuit Art Foundation; and as a Faculty Council of the Otsego Institute for Native American Art History at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, among others.

About Dr. Shirley Thomson

Profile Image of Shirley Thompson Dr. Shirley Thomson (1930-2010) was a leading national figure in the promotion of the visual arts in Canada.  For more than 40 years she worked tirelessly in the arts community, establishing a distinguished record of accomplishment.  She served as Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (1985-87), Director of the National Gallery of Canada (1987-97), Director of the Canada Council for the Arts (1998-2002), and Chair of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (2003-07). Dr. Thomson was a Companion of the Order of Canada and Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and Officer of Order of Ontario. Her strong and active presence was also felt in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, where she served as an Adjunct Professor.

Logos or Carleton University, University of Ottawa, Ottawa Art Gallery and Carleton University Art Gallery