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Q&A with Marie-Anne Redhead, our Newest Curator

Marie-Anne Redhead, Assistant Curator of Indigenous & Contemporary Art

It’s always an exciting time at an art gallery when a curator joins the team, and WAG-Qaumajuq is no exception.

We’re thrilled to welcome Marie-Anne Redhead to the WAG-Qaumajuq curatorial team as the new Assistant Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art! Redhead has been involved with WAG-Qaumajuq since her work on the award-winning Artworks Renaming Initiative, and we’re so excited to introduce you to more of her work in this new role.

Redhead brings a fresh energy and consistent thoughtfulness to the position, and she’s excited to start working on the next show that WAG-Qaumajuq is bringing to Winnipeg: The Art of Faye HeavyShield, organized and circulated by the MacKenzie Art Gallery.

We sat down to speak with Marie-Anne about her new role.

Q: Hi Marie-Anne, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Marie-Anne but you can call me Mare. When it comes to my identity, which I’ve always struggled with as someone with mixed heritage, I have found that the best way to identify myself is in relation to my communities, because they are who made me what I am.

My mom’s name is Evelyne Dupuis and we are descended from French settlers. On my father’s side, my grandparents are Jonathan Redhead and Maria Beardy and they grew up around the southwest rim of the Hudson’s Bay; their son, my father, is Roy Redhead. We are all members of Fox Lake Cree Nation, on Treaty 5 territory.

I have a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in English from the University of Winnipeg, with a special interest in Cultural Studies. I plan to pursue Cultural Studies at a graduate level.

I enjoy writing, beading, playing the same five songs over and over on my piano, and getting to know new cats.

Q: It’s day one in your new role as Assistant Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art. What are your thoughts as you settle in?
I’m mostly excited! This is an exciting opportunity and I’m grateful that WAG-Qaumajuq has entrusted me with this role. But I’m also feeling a lot of pressure as the realization of the responsibilities that come with this role is setting in. I don’t think of this pressure as a negative thing, but rather as a guiding force to make sure I do good. Julia Lafreniere [WAG-Qaumajuq Head of Indigenous Initiatives] has been doing some excellent work here at WAG-Qaumajuq and I’m so excited to be able to collaborate with her.

Q: How did you first become interested in the arts and in curation?
I’ve always considered myself an artist, as early as I can remember. Growing up I enjoyed drawing, painting, writing, and playing various instruments. But I only became seriously interested in art and curating when I got to university and started taking cultural studies and art history classes. I realized how powerful Indigenous art is, and how art spaces can become generative sites of dialogue, resistance, resurgence and repair.

Q: What is your approach to curating?
My curatorial approach is inspired by the legacy of Indigenous and Black curators and artists working within institutional gallery spaces and who have been challenging, complicating, and troubling colonial archives and narratives for decades, or who have simply affirmed and celebrated Indigenous art in these historically exclusionary spaces. That’s one approach. The other is the one that wants to break away from that tradition completely and exhibit artworks that aren’t necessarily a response to colonialism — artwork that just is. Indigenous and racialized artists that make joyful art, that make melancholic art, art about their pets or their favourite movie or video game, art that looks towards the future, etc.

Q: You did a lot of work on the Artworks Renaming Initiative – can you tell us about that process and how it influenced you?
The Artworks Renaming Initiative was a collaboration between the Gallery and Indigenous communities and Knowledge Keepers. My role was to research the collections database and identify works that needed to be renamed. Through my own familiarity with Indigenous cultures and community markers, I was also the first step in deciphering what community was being represented in the artworks as a starting point. Then we would make space for Knowledge Keepers to decide if that was really them, facilitate them giving a name to the artwork and the people represented in those artworks. It was an act of agency through naming. I really want to keep moving forward with that project in this new role, along with a few other ideas I’ve been thinking about.

Q: What’s your favourite work or artist in the WAG-Qaumajuq collection?
I am a huge fan of Linus Woods’ work – I researched his work during my internship at Gallery 1C03 and I absolutely love his approach to what seems like a traditional medium like painting. His playful combination of speculative imagery and Dakota aesthetics is so intriguing.

Thanks Mare! We can’t wait to see what you do next at WAG-Qaumajuq!


2 thoughts on "Q&A with Marie-Anne Redhead, our Newest Curator"

Heather M. Beecroft says:

Congratulations Mare!
I will look forward to learning about your new approaches to ‘old’ ideas!

patricia st godard says:

Hi Mare, one of your Inuk staff ( and my beautiful daughter ) was showcased on Global TV – the New Reality –
Marisa St Godard gave a wonderful shout out to Qaumajug as her source of finding her sense of identity – hope you get a chance to connect with her

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WAG-Qaumajuq recognizes that land acknowledgements are part of an ongoing dialogue with Indigenous Nations, and we are grateful to live and work on these lands and waters. Institutionally, WAG-Qaumajuq is committed to acknowledging our colonial history and we are actively working to interrogate the Gallery’s colonial ways of being.

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