Inuit artists Megan Kyak-Monteith and Darcie Bernhardt

Memory Keepers II

GLAM Collective installation at Art in the Open

by Amanda Shore

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GLAM Collective (short for Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) is a collective of scholars who work through Indigenous, feminist, and anti-oppressive methodologies. The three curators behind this collective (Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Dr. Julie Nagam, and Dr. Carla Taunton) speak rhythmically in fully-formed half-sentences, and finish each other’s thoughts seamlessly. I’m struck at how often they use collective pronouns, and how every sentence starts with “we.” As the Project Coordinator for GLAM Collective’s upcoming project Memory Keepers II—which will be installed in Charlottetown on August 24, 2019 for Art in the Open—I’ve to be swept up in their collaborative process.

As a part of their SSHRC-funded project Transactive Memory Keepers, GLAM Collective is hosting media art incubations for Indigenous artists to create installations for night festivals in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Halifax, and Charlottetown. For GLAM Collective, these projects “activate/generate space for visiting/gathering; sharing of knowledges and mentorship. The Memory Keeper incubators stem out of/draw from these principles and methodologies and aim to galvanize Indigenous artists.”

For Memory Keepers II, the three members of GLAM Collective are collaborating with assistant curators Darcie Bernhardt and Megan Kyak-Monteith, two Inuit painters who participated as artists in Memory Keepers I. Through additional funding from Igloliorte’s SSHRC-funded project “Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/ Pijariuqsarniq Project,” Memory Keepers II is able to act as a curatorial mentorship program to support emerging Inuit curators.

It might seem excessive to have a five-person curatorial team to care for a group of six artists, but Memory Keepers II is an experiment in collaboration. When I ask GLAM Collective about this unique team structure, they humbly respond, “We love to work in collaboration and to explore the curatorial methodologies that are transformative between ourselves, scholars, artists and emerging curators. We also stand on the shoulders of many who have supported our learning and professional development and always want to provide opportunities for young people to explore ideas, to imagine new ways of doing thing and to develop professional skills for Inuit, First Nations and Metis people.”

By bringing Memory Keepers II to Epekwitk (known as Prince Edward Island), GLAM Collective considers what it means for Indigenous artists to gather and visit in Mi’kmaki.

Amanda Shore is a white-settler writer and curator based in K’jipuktuk (Halifax). Shore is currently pursuing her Master’s in Art History at Concordia University, where her research focuses on settler responsibility, cultural appropriation, and craft-based actions of solidarity.