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The Ottawa Art Gallery brings contemporary Indigenous arts into the classroom

September 26, 2018

Press Release

Ottawa – ON – September 26 2018 – The Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) has launched the publication and program Contemporary Indigenous Arts in the Classroom which aims to provide elementary and high school–level teachers with curriculum-linked lesson plans designed by contemporary Indigenous artists. The goal is to build students’ cultural competence and respect for diverse Indigenous peoples, while encouraging critical thinking about colonialism in Canada.

Contemporary Indigenous Arts in the Classroom is one of what we hope to be many sustainable contributions to the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Through the lens of contemporary art and art-making we can discover the depth and complexities of Indigenous histories and cultures and, perhaps, shift the way we view the world.” — Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Art Gallery

Ottawa-based Jaime Koebel (Métis, Cree) and Barry Ace (Anishinaabe) are two practicing artists who respond to contemporary experiences and maintain strong connections to their respective cultural teachings and relationships to the land. Experienced educators in their own right, Koebel and Ace have each developed an art lesson for the classroom based on the visual language of their creative practice and with specific framing questions in mind.

The publication, edited by OAG’s Head of Public, Educational and Community Programs Stephanie Nadeau, contains essays by David Garneau (Métis), Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina, and Wahsontiio Cross, an artist, art historian and art educator from Kahnawake Kanien’kehá:ka Territory in Quebec, as well as lesson plans, worksheets, artwork reproductions, sample student creations, discussion points and lists of suggested further readings as resources.

The publication will be distributed through ABC Art Books Canada and available for purchase in the OAG Shop for $22.

Contemporary Indigenous Arts in the Classroom is also accessible online:

ISBN 978-1-894906-55-5
Publisher: Ottawa Art Gallery
Ottawa Art Gallery acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario. Contemporary Indigenous Arts in the Classroom was also made possible by a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation.


For media enquiries, or to obtain a copy:
Véronique Couillard
Ottawa Art Gallery
613-233-8699, x244

Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)
OAG is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.


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.