UWinnipeg’s Julie Nagam to serve on WAG Indigenous Advisory Circle

Dr. Julie Nagam. photo © WAG

Dr. Julie Nagam. photo © WAG

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is pleased to announce UWinnipeg’s Dr. Julie Nagam as a co-chair of the newly formed Indigenous Advisory Circle. Nagam will co-chair with  Dr. Heather Igloliorte (Concordia University). The circle will give voice to Indigenous people (Inuit, First Nations, and Métis), and provide leadership and counsel in the development and planning of related WAG exhibitions, education, community outreach, partnerships, and programming. The formation of the circle is critical to guide the WAG through the transformation it is experiencing in the lead up to the opening of the new Inuit Art Centre.

The circle will be made up of representatives from the four regions of Inuit Nunangat: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut. Urban Inuit and circumpolar Inuit communities, such as Alaska and Greenland, will also be included, along with First Nations and Métis representatives from Manitoba and two national members working in the arts field.

“The Winnipeg Art Gallery is undergoing a ground-breaking transformation and we are excited to lead the way for Winnipeg to be the centre of Indigenous Contemporary Arts in Canada and abroad,” shared Nagam. “At the same time we need to continue to break down barriers and open up spaces for dialogue, reflection, and engagement. The city is at a pivotal moment where Indigenous artists could radically transform public space, galleries, and museums. The Inuit Art Centre and the WAG can support this shift and scholarship by creating new templates of unprecedented Indigenous methods, ideologies, and community involvement in museum practices.”


Dr Heather Igloliorte, © WAG

Dr Heather Igloliorte, © WAG

Each member will bring knowledge and experience from their specific communities to inspire, connect, and educate the public through enhanced exhibitions and programs. The advisory circle will develop gallery spaces and activities that acknowledge Indigenous contributions, and provide the WAG with welcoming and accessible programming for all people, North to South.

Nagam is the Chair in the History of Indigenous Art in North America, a joint appointment at The University of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Art Gallery, and is an Associate Professor in Art History at The University of Winnipeg. Igloliorte is the University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement and Assistant Professor of Aboriginal Art History at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

This year, the WAG will start construction on the Inuit Art Centre, a new 40,000-square foot, four-storey building adjoining the Gallery’s current facility. In partnership with Indigenous groups, the centre will offer ongoing education in Indigenous history, culture, and art. Through interactive experiences and collaboration with the North, the centre will build on the timely cultural renaissance that is recognizing Indigenous contemporary art on the national and international stage.

Quick facts:

  • The advisory circle will address the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Actions; create roles for Indigenous peoples contributions; showcase the diverse and exciting work of Indigenous artists in Winnipeg, Canada, and the world; and seize the opportunity to create innovative opportunities for the presentation, collection, and scholarship of Indigenous art.
  • Meeting annually, the circle will consist of 12-15 advisors, plus WAG curators, staff, and the Director and CEO.
  • Established in 1912, the WAG is Canada’s oldest civic gallery and holds the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world, supported by an unparalleled record of exhibitions, publications, and research in Inuit art.
  • The Gallery’s collection comprises 27,000 works (13,000 Inuit pieces) ranging from Canadian and Indigenous art to European and American art in all media.

About the co-chairs:

Julie Nagam (Métis, Syrian-German) is the Chair in the History of Indigenous Art in North America, a joint appointment at The University of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Art Gallery. Originally from southern Manitoba, Nagam is a published scholar and curator with a strong background in innovative research and teaching. Her research, curatorial, and artistic practices are grounded in concepts of Native space, and she continues to explore different methodologies in cartography, art, and geography to bring forth distinctive epistemological views. Another focus of her work is to unpack the tensions between Indigenous and colonial histories within the politics of technologies in the context of digital and new media art. 

Heather Igloliorte (Inuit, Nunatsiavut, Labrador) is an Assistant Professor of Aboriginal Art History at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, where she holds a Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement. Igloliorte has been an independent curator of Inuit and other Indigenous arts for twelve years; her curatorial, teaching, and research interests centre on circumpolar and Native North American art studies, performance, and media art, the global exhibition of Indigenous arts and culture, and issues of colonization, sovereignty, resistance, and resilience. Some of her recent curatorial projects include the nationally touring exhibition SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (2016); the permanent exhibition Ilippunga: The Brousseau Inuit Art Collection at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (2016); and Decolonize Me (Ottawa Art Gallery, 2011-2015).

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E: n.ibrahim@uwinnipeg.ca

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