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National Gallery and Ottawa Art Gallery join forces to support Indigenous artists and arts leadership

June 6, 2024

The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) today announced a unique partnership to support the agency, self-determination and cultural sovereignty of Indigenous artists, cultural producers and communities.

Through shared initiatives, programing alignment and cross promotion, the agreement will promote appreciation of Indigenous art locally, nationally and internationally, and support Indigenous leadership throughout the arts.

“This partnership is an important part of our ongoing commitment to relationships with the First Peoples of this land and growing understanding of what reconciliation means,” said NGC Director and CEO Jean-François Bélisle. “It also reflects our vision for the future of Ottawa that is based on relationships and the communities we welcome – with art playing an essential role.”

OAG Director and CEO Alexandra Badzak said the agreement furthers its work to promote equity, anti-racism and accessibility through art: “For several decades, the National Gallery of Canada and the Ottawa Art Gallery have had the privilege to share space on the unceded Anishinābeg Algonquin Aki, in the City of Ottawa. This unprecedented agreement marks the first time we have acknowledged our mutual responsibilities and desire to work together to strengthen culture in the region. What is most extraordinary is that we achieved this through Indigenous leadership and decolonial practices centring our new partnership on the relational pillars of care, community, and collective action.”

Examples of future initiatives may include a paid internship for young Indigenous professionals, co-development of relevant public programs and support for developing new policies impacting Indigenous art and art professionals.

The pilot partner program will involve collaboration on an upcoming exhibition of works by Haudenosaunee artist Jeff Thomas, an independent curator and photographer recognized for his groundbreaking scholarship and innovative curatorial practice. The exhibition will be curated by Rachelle Dickenson, who recently joined the NGC’s Department of Indigenous Ways and Decolonization.

About the National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) is dedicated to amplifying voices through art and extending the reach and breadth of its collection, exhibitions program, and public activities to represent all Canadians, while centring Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Ankosé—an Anishinaabemowin word that means “everything is connected”—reflects the Gallery’s mission to create dynamic experiences that open hearts and minds, and allow for new ways of seeing ourselves, one another, and our diverse histories, through the visual arts. NGC is home to a rich contemporary Indigenous international art collection, as well as important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian and European art from the 14th to the 21st century. Founded in 1880, NGC has played a key role in Canadian culture for more than 140 years. For more information, visit

About the Ottawa Art Gallery

Located in Ottawa’s downtown core on traditional Anishinābe Aki, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) serves as the city’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. The newly expanded gallery showcases local, national, and international art, including the renowned Firestone Collection of Canadian Art (FCCA), which comprises approximately 1,600 works by influential Canadian artists and also collects and cares for artwork by Ottawa-Gatineau artists. OAG believes art and culture are essential parts of belonging and are the building blocks for the society we want. Art is a means by which we come together to celebrate the shared experiences that add texture and inspiration to the everyday. We believe that regional art and artists offer us a unique vision of our society. Though grounded within a specific geography, these play an essential role in addressing and helping us to better understand the complex, global challenges of our time. OAG exhibitions and programs cater to all ages, from toddlers to seniors, and emphasize interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships to create an accessible space for our community.  For more information, visit



OAG is Open from 10 AM to 6 PM Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday | from 10 AM to 9 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission is always FREE. Register for Summer Art Camps!