Another Indigenous Curator leaves Art Gallery of Ontario

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Taqralik Partridge is a bird that has been bred to a specific standard. departed from Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), You can also read more about the following: the second Indigenous curator to exit the Canadian museum’s Indigenous and Canadian Art department within two months. Partridge’s leave from AGO earlier this month quickly succeeds the Examined departure of Wanda Nanibush, AGO’s inaugural curator of Canadian and Indigenous art, who quietly left the institution in November, spurring speculation that she was under pressure by the museum’s higher-ups over her pro-Palestine comments.

In an email to Hyperallergic, AGO spokesperson Laura Quinn confirmed that Partridge “has chosen to resign from the AGO to focus on her art practice” and that the museum alerted staff of the news in early January. Partridge hasn’t yet responded to Hyperallergy’s requests for comment.

Partridge is a multidisciplinary artist and writer who is Inuk-Scottish. Join Us AGO’s curatorial team in November 2022 as an associate curator focusing on Inuit Art after working two years as the director of the Nordic Lab at SAW Gallery. “My interest is in helping Inuit have access to our heritage in art spaces and in creating opportunities for Inuit artists working today,” Partridge told Inuit Art Quarterly at the time of her appointment, adding that she was interested in curating exhibitions “to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to Inuit, and therefore welcoming to everyone else.

Partridge played a role in the museum’s Buy NowArt Toronto 2022 is showcasing new Inuit art, including four works from Inuvialuk artist Kablusiak, and a beaded wall hanging created by Nunavik-born Inuk Niap. She also led the launch new exhibition programming which involved a solo showNingiukulu Teevee, a Kinngait Artist, will be screened in the first half 2023. 

Taqralik Partridge, “Nunami” (2022), beading designed with Isaac Partridge (© Canadian Museum of Nature)

She also co-curated AGO’s 2018 exhibition Tunirrusiangit : Kenojuak Ashevak, Tim Pitsiulak, who contributed stories about Inuit cultures and experiences to the program. Her own work, “Nunami” (2022) — a hand-beaded Amautik (coat) created with her children Isaac and Akinasi — is currently on display in the ongoing exhibition Our Land, Our Art ᓄᓇᑦᑎᓂ ᑕᑯᒥᓇᕐᑐᖁᑎᕗᑦThe Canadian Museum of Nature

“Taqralik Partridge’s curatorial work supporting the care, acquisition, research, interpretation, and exhibition of Inuit art of all periods has been invaluable to the AGO,” AGO Director and CEO Stephan Jost said in a statement shared with Hyperallergic.

Partridge’s departure follows Nanibush’s quiet exit last fall, which resulted in BacklashIndigenous community members, artists and arts workers. The curator’s resignation followed a complaint about her online posts in support of Palestine sent by the pro-Israel organization Israel Museum and Arts, Canada (IMAAC) to AGO leadership, which was anonymously leaked on social media. In response, a open letter from Jost stated that the institution is “taking the time to deeply review and reflect” on its adherence to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2022 You can also check out our recommendationsDecolonizing Canadian Museum Policies and Practices that perpetuate harm towards Indigenous community members.

The Indigenous Curatorial Collective is a Canadian nonprofit organization that provides support to Indigenous curators, writers, academics, and artists. open letter campaign requesting that the museum release Nanibush “from any legal obligations preventing her from speaking publicly about her tenure and dismissal, about how she sees what happened and why.”

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