Roy Kakegamic, Survivor, 1982, acrylic on paper. Gift of David Clare, 2019
Paige Van Tassel, recipient of the second Research Studentship in Indigenous Art at Agnes, is Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) and ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ(Cree) from Northern Ontario, a PhD student in Art History and a graduate of the Master of Art Conservation Program at Queen’s. Her project involves researching historical and contemporary Indigenous art of protest and resistance in Agnes’s collection. She is placing the collection into the context of current artistic practice and histories of protest. “My hope is that there is continual engagement in all phases of this project with Indigenous students, staff and faculty of Queen’s and Kingston Indigenous community members to empower, uplift and inspire change and action against government and corporate bodies who seek to take advantage and exploit the land’s resources,” says Van Tassel.
Van Tassel is developing a comprehensive proposal for a collection-based exhibition, tentatively titled Land Protectors to open at Agnes in Summer 2022. “It is a wonderful learning opportunity to be able to work intimately with the artworks and to have the freedom and support to develop my research. I think that is necessary and crucial in working with any Indigenous-related content: to not be restricted to a set rule of guidelines and outcomes but to develop and evolve a project that is responsive to the needs of the community. I was able to do that with this exhibition.”
The Studentship, created by a generous gift from Margaret McGowan (Artsci’78), offers an opportunity to further studies in Indigenous art and culture within a professional museum environment.