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Art Gallery of Ontario launches department of Canadian and Indigenous Art, appoints two new positions

Georgiana Uhlyarik named Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art; Wanda Nanibush appointed Curator, Indigenous Art

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has appointed Georgiana Uhlyarik its Fredrik S. Eaton Curator, Canadian Art, it was announced today. Uhlyarik will oversee a department of Canadian and Indigenous Art that will continue to develop high quality exhibitions of Canadian content that shape cultural conversations locally and globally, engaging new and diverse voices to challenge the traditional idea of Canada and our world. Driving this mandate, Wanda Nanibush has been appointed Curator, Indigenous Art.

The department of Canadian and Indigenous Art will build upon the strength of the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art, the Sarick Collection of Inuit Art and the Gallery’s renowned collection of art ranging from historic to contemporary, with a strengthened commitment to Indigenous art, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The team will continue to focus on bringing Canadian and Indigenous art to the world, adding to successes including presenting Emily Carr at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and David Milne at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil.

Uhlyarik, who has been a member of the Gallery’s curatorial department since 2004, most recently held the position of Associate Curator, Canadian Art, with a specialty in women artists of the Americas. Her most recent contributions to the AGO include the successful exhibitions Georgia O’Keeffe, Rita Letendre: Fire and Light, Introducing Suzy Lake and the upcoming Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry.

“Georgiana’s expertise and deep relationships with museums nationally and internationally position her well to bring Canadian art to the global stage,” said Stephan Jost, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO. “Her ability to connect art with relevant conversations will help us bring more of Canada to the forefront at a critical moment in time.”

The department of Canadian and Indigenous Art will include the newly created position of Curator, Indigenous Art. Wanda Nanibush, most recently the Assistant Curator of Canadian and Indigenous Art, has been promoted to this role in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the AGO’s exhibition program since her hire in 2016, including Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 and Rita Letendre: Fire & Light. Nanibush will lead the AGO’s strategic direction as a leading presenter of Indigenous art.

“Wanda is a dynamic community and artistic leader whose meaningful connections bring rich context to the exhibitions that she champions,” said Jost. “She is committed to ensuring that Indigenous art and culture will be given their proper place in relation to Canadian art. Exploring and giving a platform to different points of view is central to who we are as a Canadian art museum, and Wanda is the perfect person to propel us forward.”

Georgiana Uhlyarik has been a member of the AGO’s curatorial team since 2004. Her recent projects include Rita Letendre: Fire & Light and Introducing Suzy Lake, as well as international collaborations and publications with Tate Modern (Georgia O’Keeffe), the Jewish Museum, NY (Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry), Terra Foundation for American Art and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (Picturing the Americas). She is Adjunct faculty in the Graduate Program of Art History at the University of Toronto. Originally from Romania, she lives in Toronto with her twin sons.

Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe curator, image and word warrior, and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation, located in Southern Ontario. Nanibush has a Master’s degree in visual studies from the University of Toronto. Over the past two decades, Nanibush has served in a wide range of capacities from programmer and festival coordinator to Aboriginal arts officer and executive director. During that time, she worked with organizations such as ImagineNATIVE, LIFT, Optic Nerve Film Festival, Reframe Film Festival, the Ontario Arts Council, Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and the Association for Native Development in the Performing & Visual Arts (ANDPVA). Her curatorial credits include the exhibitions Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989 and Rita Letendre: Fire & Light. Nanibush has published widely on the subject of Indigenous art as well as women’s issues, and is currently at work on her first book, titled Violence No More: The Rise of Indigenous Women. She is also working on an AGO exhibition of works by Gershon Iskowitz Prize-winning artist Rebecca Belmore, set to open in 2018.

With a collection of close to 95,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’s masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002, Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to learn more.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

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