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OAG’s Connect: Artist Mentorship Program

January 30, 2023

Left to right: Shaya Ishaq (photo: Brandon Brookbank); Don Kwan (courtesy of the artist); Robert Kautuk (Photo: Alex Taylor); Peter Kohut (courtesy of the artist); Angelina Barrucco (courtesy of the artist); Erin Fyfe Donnelly (courtesy of the artist); Natalie Bruvels (courtesy of the artist); Delilah Edouard Williams (courtesy of the artist); Stanley Wany (courtesy of the artist)

OAG’s Connect: Artist Mentorship Program, supported by the RBC Foundation, is an ongoing program that pairs exhibition artists with mentors for the purpose of support, exhibition opportunities, networking and professional skill building for artists in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Begun in 2021, Connect continues to bring new dimensions to our history of mentorship, and solidifies our commitment to supporting the professional development of artists.

As we move into the new year, we’re thrilled to share and spotlight some of the artist pair-ups that took place over the course of the recent years!

In late 2021, interdisciplinary artist Shaya Ishaq was paired with contemporary artist and mentor Esmaa Mohamoud (To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat). As an Artist Respondent, Shaya’s mentorship culminated in her leading a guided visit of the exhibition, delving into topics such as Black resilience and racism in the sport industry.

In 2021, artists also undertook mentorships during the preparation stages for their exhibitions. We were thrilled to facilitate mentorship conversations between Don Kwan and mentor artist Ken Lum, during the lead up to his exhibition Don Kwan: Landscape, Loss, and Legacy, while ᓯᑯ ᕿᕐᓂᖅᓯᓯᒪᔪᖅ | Dark Ice artist Robert Kautuk from Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), NU was paired with Inuk photographer Katherine Takpannie, recent recipient of the New Generation Photography Award.

In early 2022, artists in the exhibition Abound: Art from the University of Ottawa Department of Visual Arts 2021 also took part in the OAG’s Connect program, with six mentorship pairings made between artists Peter Kohut and Gillian King (mentor), Angelina Barrucco and Michael Belmore (mentor), Erin Fyfe Donnelly and Gavin Lynch (mentor), Natalie Bruvels and Brendan de Montigny (mentor), Jenny McMaster and Julie Caissie (mentor), and Laura Paolini and Leah Decter (mentor).

Later in the year, artist Stanley Wany (Stanley Wany: For Those Who Chose the Sea), was paired with mentor artist Deanna Bowen. Following this, Stanley was later paired as a mentor himself, meeting with mentee Delilah Edouard Williams, guest curator for the Galerie Annexe’s exhibition How I Love You.

We look forward to more mentorships to come! Stay tuned for more pairings in 2023!

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