Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada: Wednesday, 2 October 2019: The MacKenzie Art Gallery is pleased to announce the appointment of Felicia Gay to the position of Curatorial Fellow. Gay’s position is a cross-appointment with the University of Regina through a Mitacs-funded fellowship and runs until April 2021.
Felicia Gay is of Swampy Cree and Scottish (Gordon Clan) heritage and brings a thoughtful lens of Indigenous worldviews and counter-narratives to contemporary curation. She was the founding Artistic Director of Red Shift Gallery in Saskatoon (alongside co-founder Joi Arcand) and was most recently the Curator at Wanuskewin Galleries. Her unique perspective was shaped by her early years living with her grandparents in Cumberland House in northern Saskatchewan, combined with her time in Saskatoon with her mother. This background has given her the ability to engage with works by a broad range of Indigenous artists with a crucial sensitivity.
“We are thrilled to welcome Felicia to the MacKenzie team. Her experience and outstanding critical rigour will be an asset to our organization and the communities we serve. We really look forward to her exciting research and its outcomes: exhibitions, programs, and publications,” says Anthony Kiendl, Executive Director and CEO of the MacKenzie Art Gallery. “Over the past year the MacKenzie has assembled a dynamic curatorial team with a number of key appointments. This enables us to be a leading art museum in North America. Felicia is a key component of this goal, and we welcome her wholeheartedly.”
Gay’s appointment is 50% research – working towards her PhD in Art History at the University of Regina, with a focus on Indigenous Curatorial Practices – and 50% practice, working at the MacKenzie Art Gallery to produce exhibitions and working alongside the Programs team to enhance the institution’s artistic vision.
“I’m incredibly excited to welcome Felicia to the MacKenzie for this fellowship. Felicia has played an enormous role in building the Indigenous arts community in Saskatchewan and beyond, pushing us to new heights of community-centredness, accessibility, and depth, and always brings both a critical and ethical approach to all the work she does,” says John Hampton, the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Director of Programs. “Felicia will be a major asset to our curatorial team, as our institution continues to work as an ally in championing Indigenous artists and rights, while creating new understandings of our cultural realities across the diverse—yet intimately linked—communities of this territory.”
“Nena ochi Waskyganeek, Scottish ekwa Muskego inninu iskew, my territory/Treaty 5 and heritage has informed my research and practice as a curator of contemporary art. I feel very honored and grateful to be a part of the MacKenzie Art Gallery team and for their support in fostering my research and work as a curator,” says Felicia Gay. “I have always admired their tenacity and forward thinking in support of Indigenous artists and cultural workers and feel that this is an institution that I can believe in and contribute to. My family and I are enjoying Regina and look forward to what it holds for us in the future.”
During the course of the fellowship, Gay will work on multiple exhibitions and projects, collaborating with exhibiting artists, the MacKenzie staff, as well as the public, to demonstrate how curatorial practice can support communal knowledge creation that exceeds the limitations of any individual viewpoint. One of the first initiatives Gay will be contributing towards will be the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and Initiative for Indigenous Futures joint conference and gathering, hosted by the MacKenzie Art Gallery and Sâkêwêwak First Nations Artists’ Collective in June 2020.
ABOUT FELICIA GAY
Felicia Gay has been working as a curator since 2004 and in 2006, Felicia was awarded the Canada Council for the Arts Aboriginal Curatorial Residency with AKA Artist-Run in Saskatoon, SK. Felicia has also worked as a cultural worker with various arts-based organizations in the province and has been a sessional and guest lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan and First Nations University of Canada since 2008. Felicia has an MA and a BA Honours in art history with a focus on Indigenous contemporary art and curatorial praxis. She is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Media, Art and Performance at the University of Regina.
Felicia is the 2018 recipient of the Saskatchewan Arts Award for Leadership for her work with curation and advocacy for creating space with Indigenous art and artists. In 2006, Felicia founded and was the Artistic Director of the Red Shift Gallery, a contemporary Aboriginal art space, with Joi Arcand. The gallery was central in addressing issues around colonial histories and violence against Indigenous women and girls, and sharing Indigenous voices. Red Shift created a presence for Indigenous artists within the larger structure of the Canadian artist-run network.
Her insight and expertise has been featured in keynote presentations and essays at the Canadian Arts Summit, Canadian Art magazine and in various publications. In 2018 she curated PowerLines: The Work of Norval Morrisseau, a retrospect with coinciding symposium at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, SK. Currently, Felicia is guest curator for the Remai Modern, Saskatoon, SK for the 2020 Art Gallery of Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art.
Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 20 years. Working with 70 universities, 6,000 companies, and both federal and provincial governments, we build partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.
Mitacs was founded in 1999 as a Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence, dedicated to supporting applied and industrial research in mathematical sciences and associated disciplines. In 2003, we launched a research internship program designed to increase deployment of highly educated graduates into the private sector. Open to all disciplines since 2007, Mitacs has expanded in response to industrial and university needs, including programs in R&D management, professional skills development, and international research training. Mitacs is committed to its core vision of supporting research-based innovation and continues to work closely with its partners in industry, academia, and government.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF REGINA
The University of Regina—with campuses located in Regina and Saskatoon on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College, a small residential high school established by the Methodist Church in 1911. The College grew in size and significance becoming a campus of the University of Saskatchewan and, ultimately, an independent degree-granting university – the University of Regina – in 1974.
ABOUT THE MACKENZIE
The MacKenzie Art Gallery is reinventing the role of the public art gallery, using art and experiences to shed new light on the world. With a permanent collection that spans 5,000 years and nearly 5,000 works of art, we encompass both the University of Regina’s vast collection and one of Canada’s largest collections of Indigenous art, the Kamplemacher Collection. Through art, education, and immersive programming, we bring fresh perspectives that transform how people experience history, themselves and each other.
The MacKenzie is located in Wascana Park, Canada’s largest urban park, and rests within Treaty 4 territory, the traditional territory of the Cree, Saulteaux, Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. We are generously supported by the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, City of Regina, University of Regina and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.