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McMichael Names Emily Laurent Henderson Associate Curator: Indigenous Art and Culture

Nov 29, 2023
by IAQ

Emily Laurent Henderson, a curator and writer of Greenlandic Inuit and settler heritage, has been named Associate Curator, Indigenous Art and Culture at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

In this role—which is an entirely new position at the McMichael—Henderson will work with the recently digitized Cape Dorset Archive to produce a touring exhibition and publication for 2025. The archive records decades of artworks made by Inuit artists from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Nunavut.

“I first engaged with the [Kinngait] archive in late 2022 . . . and I found it was a really intimate experience to spend time with those works in the vault,” Henderson told the IAQ. “Drawing is honest and immediate and gives you the opportunity to imagine what an artist was seeing, feeling or experiencing at the exact moment they put their vision on paper. I can’t wait to share those moments with visitors.”

Henderson was previously Curatorial Assistant, Department of Canadian and Indigenous Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario and was the first full-time Inuk editor at the Inuit Art Quarterly where in 2019, she co-led a special issue on the Inuit film collective Isuma. Her writing has been published in many national publications including Inuit Art Quarterly, Inuktitut Magazine, C Magazine and Azure. Henderson was a 2022 Momus Emerging Critics Fellow and a 2023 Musagetes Foundation Writer-in-Residence.

In addition to her work with the Kinngait archive, Henderson will play a vital role in organizing exhibitions and publications centered around the McMichael’s contemporary and historical Indigenous art collection.

“I am entering this role with excitement as well as a deep sense of honour and commitment,” said Henderson. “Caring for, contextualizing and researching this work through a lens of creating relationships with the art itself is really at the core of my work. Being part of the team at the McMichael means not only working with my incredible colleagues but also relationship-building with art, artists and the land in the Humber River Valley that the gallery is situated on.”


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