Posted on November 9, 2020
Jordan Wilson, a scholar and independent curator based in New York and Vancouver, has received ICI’s inaugural Indigenous Curatorial Research Fellowship. The fellowship is part of ICI’s expanding program of individual research initiatives being developed in 2020-21 for emerging and mid-career curators.
The Indigenous Curatorial Research Fellowship will encourage independent research study, writing, and the development of a curatorial project. Wilson will advance his ongoing research on Indigenous language reclamation; the increased representation of Indigenous language in the public realm and in discourses of decolonization and reconciliation; and the relationship between Indigenous languages and conceptualizations of sovereignty. He will also further his interests in institutional and curatorial accountability in regards to Indigenous community values and protocols. In addition to contributing to the publication accompanying the ICI exhibition Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts, Wilson plans to undertake a collaborative curatorial project with the Musqueam community in response to the exhibition’s prompts.
The fellowship is conceived in conjunction with Soundings, curated by Candice Hopkins and Dylan Robinson, who are key advisors and mentors in Wilson’s fellowship. Additional mentors include Lorna Brown, Associate Director & Curator at the University of British Columbia’s Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, where Soundings is currently on view. Working closely with the curators and art spaces on the exhibition’s tour, Wilson will help develop ways of learning and passing on knowledge specific to the exhibition as it unfolds from one venue to the next.
Jordan Wilson is currently a PhD student in Anthropology at New York University. He is a member of the Musqueam First Nation, in what is now Vancouver, British Columbia, and holds an MA in Anthropology and a BA in Indigenous Studies, both obtained at the University of British Columbia. Prior to this, Wilson was a Curatorial Intern at the Belkin Art Gallery (2017-2018), where he contributed to the exhibition Beginning with the Seventies: Collective Acts (2018). Wilson’s current research examines the politics of Indigenous language revitalization, the legacies of anthropological collecting, the practices of collecting institutions, as well as questions concerning Indigenous sovereignty and settler colonialism. His curatorial practice often involves considering the forms of relationships contemporary Indigenous peoples maintain with their ancestral art, material culture, and immaterial heritage currently held by colonial institutions, and the potential of Indigenous art in the public realm. This work is informed by desires for structural change in institutions with regard to Indigenous representation and engagement, as well as a commitment to the well-being of his home community. Wilson was a co-curator of c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city (2015), an exhibition developed collaboratively with Musqueam; and the long-term exhibition In a Different Light: Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art (2017) at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology. His writing has appeared in Inuit Art Quarterly, The Capilano Review, Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, and Museum Worlds. He is also a writer and co-editor of the forthcoming book Where the Power Is: Indigenous Perspectives on Northwest Coast Art (Fall 2021).
ICI’s Indigenous Curatorial Research Fellowship is made possible, in part, by grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Hartfield Foundation.