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News / November 19, 2020

News Roundup: Mi’kmaw Knowledge Guides New Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Design

Elder Lorraine Whitman and Jordan Bennett Studio are among the collaborators on the design team with architects KPMB and Omar Gandhi. Plus: Marvel’s first Indigenous Voices issue

An architecture centred on Mi’kmaw knowledge has won the design competition for a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on the Halifax waterfront. KPMB Architects, Omar Gandhi, Jordan Bennett Studio, Elder Lorraine Whitman, Public Work and Transsolar collaborated on the new waterfront building design. The team’s statement promises “Mawiomi – a gathering place and gathering of people. This is where feasting, pow wows, ceremonies and visiting happens. No other art space exists that began from Mi’kmaw ways of knowing; a space that breaks away from a square box.” At the winner’s announcement yesterday, collector and patron Donald Sobey also pledged $10 million to the project—the largest-ever private donation to the AGNS.

Marvel picks Edmonton- and Toronto-based comic-book illustrators for new Indigenous issue. “For the Marvel’s Voice: Indigenous Voices issue, Kyle Charles [of Whitefish Lake First Nation] was tasked with illustrating the story of Dani Moonstar, a Cheyenne heroine from the New Mutants series who can conjure dreams and telepathically connect with other life forms,” CBC reports. Also involved in the issue is David Cutler, a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. The new issue is out today.

Two university galleries struggle with departures and selloffs. A new open letter signed by artists Jeremy Shaw, AA Bronson and Stan Douglas, among others, decries the firing of Cate Rimmer from her longtime position as director/curator of the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and calls for “the Board of Governors to inform the artistic community of its plans for this much loved institution.” And this week Brock University announced that it had sold Rodman Hall, a heritage building which has housed an important public art centre of the same name for more than 60 years, to private interests; the centre’s roughly thousand-piece collection will be moved to an as-yet-unnamed venue in downtown St. Catharines and be managed by community not-for-profit RHAC Inc.

16 artists are working to draw attention to a campaign against gender-based violence in Canada. Yaw Tony and Stephanie Cheng are among the artists contributing graphics gratis to the Signal for Help campaign, which is trying to raise awareness of ways people can privately signal on video calls that they may be in danger. All the artists’ graphics are now viewable on the Canadian Women’s Foundation Instagram feed.

In other prizes and recognitions: Margaret Grenier has won the $50K Walter Carsen Prize from the Canada Council; trained in traditional Gitxsan dance, Grenier leads Dancers of Damelahamid, an Indigenous dance company that “emerged in the 1960s out of an urgency to ensure that the knowledge of their ancestors was not lost,” says a release. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami has commissioned Tau Lewis to create a new tapestry—it’s Lewis’s first major museum acquisition in the United States. In Montreal, artists Abbas Akhavan, Marie-Claire Blais and Chih-Chien Wang have been shortlisted for the Prix Louis-Comtois, while arkadi lavoie lachapelle, Manuel Mathieu and Caroline Monnet have been shortlisted for the Prix Pierre-Ayot. Jenny Lin and Shanna Strauss have won the 2020 Prix Powerhouse, with a related exhibition opening at the gallery this week. The Ontario Association of Art Galleries awards shortlist has been released this week, with exhibition of the year nominees including “Dawit L. Petros: Spazio Disponibile,” “God of Gods: A Canadian Play,”  “THIS IS SERIOUS: Canadian Indie Comics,” “Beolle,” “Northern Convergences” and “The Gender Conspiracy.”

In staffing and appointments: Karen Carter, a co-founder of Black Artists’ Network and Dialogue, has been appointed executive director of the MacLaren Art Centre. Jordan Wilson, a scholar and independent curator based in New York and Vancouver, has received Independent Curators International’s inaugural Indigenous Curatorial Research Fellowship. Barbara Stead-Coyle is the new CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. Artexte in Montreal has added new staff: Mojeanne Behzadi is the research and exhibitions coordinator, and Anabelle Chassé is the gallery and communications assistant; Joana Joachim is stepping away from some roles there, but will remain on as an advisor.

Influential Manitoba curator and critic Sigrid Dahle has died due to coronavirus complications. Over her career, Dahle curated works by Wanda Koop, Guy Maddin and Michael Dumontier, among many others. In the 1980s, she was the first director-curator at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. She was also a critic for the Winnipeg Free Press from 2000 to 2002, involved for decades with the University of Manitoba School of Art, and was a frequent lecturer, curator and mentor for Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA). Dahle died on October 31.

A clarification was made to this article on November 25, 2020, changing the word “cutbacks” to “departures” in the item regarding university galleries.