A message from Alexandra Badzak, OAG Director and CEO

June 18, 2020

Photo: From left to right: Wahsontiio Cross, Curator, Alexandra Badzak, OAG Director and CEO and Rosalie Favell, Lead Artist.

Dear OAG members, friends and supporters;

As we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st, we do so at a moment of heightened awareness of social injustices and systemic racism at a global level. As a cultural institution in Canada, we must work to insure that the fight for equality for Black and Indigenous peoples does not wane or fade out, but results in sustained action and change. Part of that change is the way we can disrupt systems of control within our own sites and practices so that new approaches can emerge. An example of this is found in the artist-led endeavour Wrapped in Culture, which was presented at the OAG last year and now, we are happy to announce, exists digitally on Virtual OAG.

In this exhibition, artist Rosalie Favell disrupted the typical object/subject relationship of most curated exhibitions, working collaboratively with Indigenous artists across Canada and Australia to recover traditional practices and collectively produce new contemporary works. Exhibited in 2019 at the OAG, that initial idea has now grown to a multi-venue tour that is travelling to participating artists’ homelands both across Canada and in Australia, including as far away as Tasmania. This is one of many collaborative artist and community-led strategies that can start to define the way forward. OAG also used this approach as it addressed a gap in contemporary Indigenous visual arts curriculum within the school system. Working with several local artists such as Barry Ace and Jamie Koebel, we produced Contemporary Indigenous Arts in the Classroom, a workbook and guide that we have recently transformed into now-popular digital workshops. I encourage you to check out both of these projects and to stay tuned for news about our re-opening.

Sincerely;

Alexandra Badzak

Director and CEO

Ottawa Art Gallery

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