Artist and curator Taqralik Partridge has been named as the new Director of the Nordic Lab, a branch of Galerie SAW Gallery in Ottawa, ON. Opening in fall 2020, the Lab will host programming developed by Partridge—including residencies, exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, performances and off-site projects—that aims to advance contemporary Indigenous artistic expression in Canada and internationally by bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists from Canada’s North and South, as well as other circumpolar nations.
“The circumpolar north is undergoing dramatic changes,” explains Partridge. “Artists here—as everywhere else in the world—are important witnesses to, and active participants, in the happenings of their time. People across the North are separated by various jurisdictions and roundabout means of travel, but there are common threads of experience in northern communities. Many Indigenous artists in particular have a shared sense of connectedness and a willingness to collaborate that can span divides.”
A writer, performer and curator originally from Nunavik and now based out of Kautokeino, Norway, Partridge’s new appointment comes on the heels of a big year. Her own work is currently on view as part of the Biennale of Sydney and Among All These Tundras, both accessible online, while Qautamaat | Every day / everyday, an exhibition featuring Nunavimmiut photographers curated by Partridge, is up at the Art Gallery of Guelph. A former Editor-at-Large for the Inuit Art Quarterly and a current member of the IAQ’s Advisory Committee, Partridge has also recently released a book of poetry, Curved Against the Hull of a Peterhead (2020).
"The appointment of Taqralik Partridge as SAW's first permanent Nordic Lab Director marks an important milestone for our centre,” says SAW Director Tam-Ca Vo-Van. “[Partridge] is the ideal person to direct SAW's new Indigenous-led Nordic Lab, bringing to her role a wealth of experience as an arts administrator and practicing artist who has worked with artists throughout Nunavik and the circumpolar North."
Founded in Ottawa in 1973, Galerie SAW Gallery is a non-profit artist-run centre dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art. The Nordic Lab is an initiative of SAW in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts that will be run out of SAW’s newly expanded 15,000-square-foot centre in Ottawa.
“On unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe territory, Ottawa is home to many of my fellow Inuit—among them some of our most celebrated contemporary artists; and I have been fortunate to have lived in that city for a number of years,” says Partridge. “This new space at SAW presents a timely opportunity for circumpolar artists to come together in conversation with a focus on the North. I am happy to have this chance to work with communities in the Ottawa area and artists working in countries across the Arctic.”