Dalhousie University Arts Gallery announced Pamela Edmonds as its latest director and curator.
Considered an influential figure in the Black Canadian arts scene, Edmonds is a visual and media arts curator who focuses on themes of decolonization and the politics of representation, which will be illustrated through exhibitions, programs, community outreach projects, and advisory committees.
Edmonds' prior job was at the McMaster Museum of Art in Ontario where she worked as a Senior Curator beginning in 2019.
However, she started her career as an assistant at Dalhousie University's Arts Gallery in 1998, and said she is excited to be back as the gallery's director and curator.
"I haven't lived here since the early 2000s. I grew up and spent a lot of years in Dartmouth, my parents are from Nova Scotia, and there are so many memories for me here. It's very heartwarming for me to come back to the community that really, I didn't realize how much of an impact it had on me until I've come back," said Edmonds.
Edmonds' interests are in issues regarding equity and inclusion around decolonization, which she has been passionate about and working towards for over 20 years of her career, and she said it was one of the reasons she got into curating.
"I wasn't seeing the kind of exhibitions within mainstream art galleries and museums that I want to see as a woman of colour."
Some of her favourite artists include conceptual artist Adrian Piper, who did a lot of work around race and identity through the 1970s, as well as American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was part of the Neo-expressionism movement during the 1980s.
This year, she will be working with artists of colour and Black and Indigenous curators in developing her mentorship program.
The gallery will be hosting an exhibition by Kim Morgan, Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust, which is curated by Susan Gibson Garvey, that will be available to the public on Sept.16. From NSCAD University, Artist Kim Morgan's exhibition explores the materiality of the body, according to Edmonds.
Edmonds is also interested in contemporary photography and is looking at some proposals to bring in artists from the African diaspora to address questions around subjectivity.
This year at the gallery, she is looking forward to engaging the local community, the Mi'kmaq and Afrikan Nova Scotian community, while addressing how to connect with global conversations happening around the world.
She also aims to include some more evening events and collaborate with the many local art galleries in Halifax such as Mount St. Vincent Art Gallery, St. Mary's Art Gallery, and NSCAD University Art Gallery to share programs and ideas.
"What I love about the direction of the university is their focus and commitment to inclusivity and excellence in building a civic university. That means being engaged in social and political issues around Indigenous and African Nova Scotian representation and also about building a collection that represents the community that we're in."
Dalhousie's art gallery is currently closed for the installation of Kim Morgan's exhibition Blood and Breath, Skin and Dust and will reopen on September 16.
Listen to the full interview below: