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Free Press: Alumna transforming city into centre for Indigenous art

September 1, 2015 — 

The Winnipeg Free Press reports on alumna Julie Nagam who was recently appointed to chair a program focusing on the history of indigenous arts in North America — a joint position with the University of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

As the article reads:

It is strangely fitting that she would end up working at the WAG, as it was the setting for a pivotal moment in her artistic career. While a student at the University of Manitoba, she visited the gallery for the first time to see Winnipeg-born Robert Houle’s 1999 solo exhibition Sovereignty Over Subjectivity and was astonished.

“I didn’t know there was indigenous contemporary art,” says Nagam, who holds a PhD from York University, as well as a master’s degree in native studies from the U of M, where she also earned her undergraduate degree. “It was the first time I had ever seen it and I loved it. I almost cried at his residential piece Sandy Bay. You could look and stare at that work and you could see the pain.”

Nagam was the first in her family to earn a post-secondary education, but her academic career might have taken another path if not for mentors who encouraged her to go on and try for a master’s degree. At the time, she didn’t know what graduate school was.

 

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