Becoming Our Future

Global Indigenous Curatorial Practice

Dr. Julie Nagam

Carly Lane

Megan Tamati-Quennell

Becoming Our Future Contributors

  • ISBN-13: 9781927886229
  • PRICE: $40.00

Becoming Our Future: Global Indigenous Curatorial Practice explores how Indigenous visual art and culture operate within and from a structural framework that is unique within the cultural milieu. Through a selection of contributions by Indigenous curators, artists, and scholars brings together perspectives that define curatorial practices, and at the same time postulates Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination within the three countries. These compelling essays begin to unearth the connections and historical moments that draw Indigenous curatorial practices together and the differences that set them apart.

With contributions from Nigel Borell, Freja Carmichael, Karl Chitham, Nici Cumpston, Léuli Eshreghi, Reuben Friend, Jarita Greyeyes, Ioana Gordon-Smith, Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Jaimie Isaac, Carly Lane, Cathy Mattes, Kimberley Moulton, Lisa Myers, Dr. Julie Nagam, Dr. Jolene Rickard, Megan Tamati-Quennell, Josh Tengan, and Daina Warren.

Dr. Julie Nagam

Dr. Nagam (Metis/German/Syrian) 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's SSHRC research includes digital makerspaces + incubators, mentorship, digital media + design, international collaborations, and place-based knowledge. She is a collective member of GLAM, 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. She is building an Indigenous Research Centre of Collaborative and Digital Media Labs in Winnipeg, Canada.


Carly Lane

Ms Lane is the Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. She is a Murri woman from Queensland and has worked as a curator for nearly twenty-five years, including at the National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia, and the Berndt Museum of Anthropology. Carly uses her role as curator to care for culture, to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are part of the national conversation, and to enable self-determination, equality, and social change. Three shows that are dear to her curatorial-heart are the Second National Indigenous Art Triennial (National Gallery of Australia, 2012), Everyone has a history: Plain Speak (Art Gallery of Western Australia, 2017) and Desert River Sea: Portraits of the Kimberley (Art Gallery of Western Australia, 2019), which she co-curated with Emilia Galatis and several more curators from the Kimberley region. She finds inspiration in political art and any art (really) where the artist speaks their political, social, and cultural truth.


Megan Tamati-Quennell

Ms Tamati-Quennell is a leading curator and writer of modern & contemporary Māori & Indigenous art, a field she has worked in for three decades. Her research interests include Māori modernism, Mana Wāhine Māori - the Māori women artists of the 1980s and 1990s, The Māori Internationals - the urban avant-garde Māori artists of the 1990s, International Indigenous art, and Indigenous art curatorial praxis. She currently holds two curatorial positions; Curator modern & contemporary Maori & Indigenous art at Te Papa in Wellington and Associate Indigenous Curator, Contemporary Art | Kairauhī Taketake Toi Onāianei at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth. Megan's current projects include an essay for Nirin, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, writing and editing a limited edition publication related to detour, a major commission by leading conceptual artist Michael Parekowhai. An essay exploring primitivism and Len Lye’s use of Indigenous art for Len Lye Motion Composer at the Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland and developing a publication focused on building the Modern & contemporary Māori and Indigenous art collection at Te Papa. Her current exhibitions include Mining Darkness, focused on trace, unearthed, and often traumatic histories, an exhibition about the Women of Maori modernism, and an exhibition focused on the work of Matt Pine, a minimalist Māori sculptor and his work with pre-contact Māori land modification and architecture. Megan is of Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe and Waitaha Māori descent.


Becoming Our Future Contributors

Nigel Borell (Pirirakau, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whakatōhea) is Curator Māori Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki where his research in both customary and contemporary Māori art is produced for publication and exhibition-making. Recent curatorial projects include co-curating with Zara Stanhope The Moa Hunters by Areta Wilkinson, for 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2018) and The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand, at the Auckland Art Gallery (2016) and deYoung Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco (2017). Current projects include the curatorium to Histōrias Indīgenas- Indigenous Histories at Museu de Art de (MASP), São Paulo, Brazil (2021) and Toi tū Toi ora: Contemporary Māori Art Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2021). Freja Carmichael is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka People of Moreton Bay. She is an Independent curator working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities on creative projects. Her work is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of fibre art and collaborative curatorial approaches. Recent projects include co-curation of The Commute, Institute of Modern Art and curator of Seeing Country, Redland Art Gallery and Weaving the Way, The University of Queensland Art Museum. Carmichael has completed a master's of Museums Studies from The University of Queensland (2014) and was awarded the inaugural Macquarie Group First Nations Emerging Curator Award (2017). She has received an Australia Council for the Arts emerging curatorial fellowship (2014) and the National Gallery of Australia International Indigenous Arts fellowship (2016).  Karl Chitham (Ngā Puhi) is Director Museums Hutt City Council which includes the Dowse Art Museum and was formerly the Director and Curator of Tauranga Art Gallery. He has been involved in the arts in Aotearoa in a variety of roles for over 15 years as a director, curator, writer, educator and artist. Projects have included a series of exhibitions and accompanying publications across multiple institutions highlighting contemporary toi Māori most recently the touring exhibition Whatu Manawa: Celebrating the Weaving of Matekino Lawless as well as Toi Mauri: Contemporary Māori Carving by Todd Couper, Whiria: Weaving Global Connection, and Whenua Hou: New Māori Ceramics Nici Cumpston is a proud Barkindji woman from northwestern New South Wales, Australia, with her family also being of Afghan, Irish and English descent. She is simultaneously a photographic visual artist, a curator, and an educator. She has worked at the Art Gallery of South Australia since 2008 as curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and has curated major exhibitions and co-written catalogues including Desert Country, HEARTLAND: Contemporary Art from South Australia and since 2014 has been the artistic director of  TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of South Australia and city-wide presenting partners.  Dr. Léuli Eshrāghi, (ia/he) is a Sāmoan artist, curator, and researcher who intervenes in-display territories to centre Indigenous presence and power, sensual and spoken languages, and ceremonial-political practices. Ia has realized curatorial projects at UNSW Galleries, Vancouver Art Gallery, Artspace Aotearoa, Institute of Modern Art, Monash University Museum of Art, and Gertrude Contemporary, and published writing in the collections Permanent Recession: a Handbook on Art, Labour and Circumstance (2019), Sovereign Words: Indigenous Art, Curation and Criticism (2018), and Associations: Creative Practice and Research (2018). Ia serves on the board of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective/Collectif des commissaires autochtones (Canada).  Reuben Friend is an artist and curator of Māori (Ngāti Maniapoto) and New Zealand Pākehā heritage. He was appointed Director of Pātaka Art + Museum in Wellington, New Zealand in 2015. From 2009 to 2013, Friend worked as the Curator of Māori and Pacific Art at City Gallery Wellington in New Zealand where he co-curated Art in Oceania, a major survey exhibition of New Zealand and Pacific art that was exhibited at The National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and City Gallery Wellington. Friend has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy in Māori Visual Arts and Post Graduate qualifications in Museum Studies from Massey University, and a Diploma in Māori Language from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Ioana Gordon-Smith is a curator and arts writer of Sāmoan (Faleula, Leauva'a) and English heritage. She currently works as the inaugural Curator Māori Pacific at Pātaka Art + Museum in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Prior to that, she was the inaugural Curator | Kaitiaki Whakaaturanga at Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand from 2014-2019. She contributes regularly to a number of catalogues as well as magazines and journals. Ioana has been a regular Pasifika correspondent for Radio New Zealand and is Assistant Curator of Yuki Kihara, Aotearoa New Zealand at the 59th Venice Bienniale 2021.  Jarita Greyeyes nisiyihkāson.niya nēhiyaw iskwēw. maskēko sahkikanihk ochi niya. I am Jarita Greyeyes, a Cree woman of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and the Red Pheasant Cree Nation. I introduce myself in the language of my people to say who I am in relation to my family, nation, and the land that sustains these relationships. These relations are the foundation for all the work that I undertake. I am currently a doctoral student in Race, Inequality, and Language in Education at Stanford University. Dr. Heather Igloliorte (Inuk, Nunatsiavut) holds the Tier 1 University Research Chair in Circumpolar Indigenous Arts and is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at Concordia University in Montreal, QC. Heather leads the SSHRC Partnership Grant, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/ Pijariuqsarniq Project (2018-2025), ​which aims to empower circumpolar Indigenous peoples to become leaders in the arts through training and mentorship. In addition to her teaching and research on Inuit and other circumpolar Indigenous arts, Heather has been a curator for fifteen years, ​and currently has three exhibitions touring nationally and internationally.  Jaimie Isaac is the Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and an interdisciplinary artist. Isaac blends artistic production and community engagement within her curatorial practice. Working inside and outside institutional systems she’s interested in creating space to challenge the canon and expand contemporary and art historical narratives. Isaac’s thesis research focus was Decolonizing Curatorial Practice and has contributed to publications and authored exhibitions further exploring that research. Cathy Mattes is a Michif curator, writer, and art history professor at Brandon University who is based in Sprucewoods Manitoba. In her curatorial practice, she focuses on the complexities of engaging Indigenous communities with contemporary art. Several examples are Inheritance: Amy Malbeuf  (2017, Kelowna Art Gallery), Frontrunners (2011, Urban Shaman Gallery and Plug-In ICA), and Rockstars & Wannabes (2007, Urban Shaman Gallery). Mattes has written for various arts and cultural institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the National Museum of the American Indian to name a few. She is presently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. Her dissertation examines Indigenous knowledge systems and methodologies in relation to Indigenous curatorial practices.  Kimberley Moulton is a Yorta Yorta woman, curator and writer, and Senior Curator South Eastern Aboriginal Collections at Museums Victoria. Her practice works with knowledges, histories, and futures in the intersection of historic cultural material and contemporary art and making. She has held curatorial roles at Melbourne Museum for eleven years and worked extensively with communities from across Australia and was an assistant curator for the permanent First Peoples Exhibition at Melbourne Museum.  In 2018 Kimberley was Museums Victoria Lead Curator for the exhibition Mandela: My Life in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. She has written for art and museum publications nationally and internationally and held research, curatorial, and writing fellowships across Europe, the UK, South Asia, and America. Alongside her museum practice, she has independently curated shows in Australia and the USA including;  Mother Tongue, Gertrude Contemporary Melbourne 2018, Next Matriarch co-curated with Liz Nowell ACE Open Adelaide 2016, recentreSISTERS Melbourne City Gallery 2016, State Of The Nation Counhihan Gallery Melbourne 2015 and where the water moves where it rests, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum Virginia USA 2015. Lisa Myers is an independent curator, artist, and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She is the coordinator of the Cultural and Artistic Practices certificate for Social and Environmental Justice in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Her research encompasses both a curatorial and an art practice. Recent curatorial projects include four touring exhibitions, Recast (2014), wnoondwaamin | we hear them (2016), Carry Forward (2017), and Beads, they’re sewn so tight (2018). Myers has an MFA in Criticism and Curatorial practice from OCAD University. She is Toronto and Port Severn based and is a member of Beausoleil First Nation. Dr. Jolene Rickard researches the intersection of Indigenous knowledge, art, materiality, and ecocriticism with an emphasis on Hodinöhsö:ni aesthetics. Recent activity: Diversifying Sovereignty and the Reception of Indigenous Art, Art Journal 76, no. 2 (2017), Aesthetics, Violence and Indigeneity, Public 27, no. 54 (Winter 2016), exhibited in Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, 2019-2021, and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Art For a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now, 2018-2020. She is on the boards of American Art, Otsego Institute for Native American Art and GRASAC-The Great Lakes Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Culture, and a 20202 Fulbright Scholar at McMaster University and Associate Professor in History of Art, Art and the American Indian and Studies Program at Cornell University. Jolene is from the Tuscarora Nation (Turtle Clan), Hodinöhsö:ni Confederacy.  Josh Tengan is an independent curator from Pauoa, Kona, Oʻahu. He is of Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian), Ryukyuan (Okinawan), and Portuguese descent.  Since 2015, he has worked with local and Native Hawaiian artists, through the arts non-profit Puʻuhonua Society, to deliver Hawaiʻi’s largest annual thematic contemporary art exhibition, CONTACT, which offers a critical and comprehensive survey of local contemporary visual culture. He was the Assistant Curator of the second Honolulu Biennial 2019, To Make Wrong / Right / Now curated by Nina Tonga. In 2019, he curated CONTACT: Acts of Faith, which featured contemporary art and an artist book library cited in the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archive. As a professional arts manager at Nā Mea Hawai‘i, he has managed large-scale public art installations in Honolulu for the past five years. He holds a Curatorial Studies MA with Distinction from Newcastle University (UK) and a BA in Studio Art from Westmont College. Daina Warren is from the Akamihk (Cree) Nation in Maskwacis (Bear Hills), AB. She was awarded two Canada Council's Aboriginal Curatorial Residencies the first to work with grunt gallery, Vancouver BC (2000-2001), and a second residency at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario (2010-2011). She has a BFA from the Emily Carr University of Art (ECUAD) and Design (2003) and an MA from UBC (2012). Warren was awarded the 2015 Emily Award from Emily Carr University and was selected as one of six Indigenous women curators as part of the Canada Council for the Arts Delegation to participate in the International First Nations Curators Exchange that took place in Australia (2015), New Zealand (2016), and Canada (2017). Her most recent accomplishment was winning the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellency in 2018. She is currently the Director of Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba.