Groundbreaking curator, author, artist and educator Dr. Gerald McMaster has been named Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Indigenous Visual Culture & Curatorial Practice at OCAD University.
“My position will enable me to be part of a uniquely vibrant community of students, researchers and creators,” said McMaster. “I am looking forward to learning from and working with them as I seek to expand knowledge of the ways transnational contact has affected artistic expression among Indigenous people, as well as the influence of those expressions on non-Indigenous societies.”
McMaster has held prestigious curatorial positions at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. In 2006 he was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada.
“We are grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting us in this unprecedented scholarship of Indigenous art history told through Indigenous voices,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor. “To be the first art and design university to receive a Tier 1 CRC appointment is recognition of OCAD University’s strong research agenda.”
McMaster’s work will examine the ways in which cultures interact, influencing and inspiring one another. How can Indigenous artists engage with the non-Indigenous world while maintaining their difference? How does the vitality of Indigenous voice express and contribute knowledge to the global conversation on climate? How did Indigenous artists and cultures view their colonizers in the context of their art?
Born near North Battleford, Saskatchewan, McMaster (Plains Cree/Member of the Siksika First Nation) studied at the Institute of American Indian Art and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, receiving his MA in Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa. He completed his doctorate at the University of Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Theory and Interpretation under renowned cultural theorist Mieke Bal.
McMaster served as Canadian Commissioner for the Venice Biennale and Artistic Director of the Biennale of Sydney, Australia. He is currently collaborating on three major international projects in Europe, South America and Australia.
McMaster also teaches undergraduate courses in OCAD University’s Indigenous Visual Culture program (INVC) and leads a graduate seminar in exhibition issues in the Criticism & Curatorial Practice program.
OCAD University would like to thank the Canada Foundation for Innovation for providing infrastructure support for McMaster’s lab.