Artist and curator Taqralik Partridge was today named the new Associate Curator of Indigenous Art – Inuit Art Focus at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). As Associate Curator, Partridge will develop exhibitions, lead acquisitions, and champion new and diverse voices from across the circumpolar north.
A poet, performer and curator originally from Nunavik and now based out of Ottawa, ON, Partridge comes to the gallery following two years as inaugural Director of the Nordic Lab at SAW Gallery, where she oversaw a research and production space for artists from circumpolar nations, and curated the exhibition Alakkaajut (Many Things Appear) (2021) featuring their work. As an artist, her work has been displayed around the world, including at the 2020 Biennale of Sydney and in the touring exhibition Among All These Tundras (2020). She is also a former Editor-at-Large for the Inuit Art Quarterly and is the Guest Commissioning Editor for the IAQ's upcoming Winter issue themed around Colour.
“My interest is in helping Inuit have access to our heritage in art spaces and in creating opportunities for Inuit artists working today,” said Partridge when asked by the IAQ what her early plans were for the new position. “In exhibitions I always try to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to Inuit, and therefore welcoming to everyone else.”
This change comes at a time when the AGO’s focus will be intensely on Inuit art, with two major solo shows featuring Ningiukulu Teevee and David Ruben Piqtoukun set to open in January 2023.
Kablusiak Nuyaq II (2021) the artist mother’s hair, hide uppers, artificial sinew, gifted
crushed velvet, 12 x 2.5 x 9.5 in. COURTESY ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO © THE ARTIST
Partridge has already played a role in the acquisition of new Inuit artworks by the gallery; when the AGO acquired 17 new works by 10 artists at this year’s Art Toronto fair, Partridge led the acquisition of two photographs and two multimedia sculptures by Inuvialuk artist Kablusiak and a beaded wallhanging by Nunavik artist Niap.
“I’m looking forward to working with Wanda and Georgiana,” says Partridge about the shift, naming Wanda Nanibush, Indigenous Art Curator, and Georgiana Uhlyarik, Canadian Art Curator, co-heads of the AGO’s Department of Indigenous and Canadian Art.