A Statement from Your AGA
With the announcement of the opening of borderline: the 2020 Biennial, the Art Gallery of Alberta publicly acknowledges the history of the Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art, in which no Black artists have been represented in the exhibition since its beginning in 1996. The AGA acknowledges that this lack of representation contributes to and perpetuates anti-Black racism and social inequity. We are taking steps to ensure our actions, both immediate and future, are directed toward making positive change and dismantling systemic racism within our organization and the visual arts community in Alberta.
What we are doing as an organization:
-The AGA Board of Directors approved an Anti-Racism and Equity Statement with concrete action items that is available on our website: youraga.ca/about-aga/anti-racism-and-equity-statement
-The AGA Board of Directors is working on a new Strategic Plan (2021-2024) that has anti-racism and equity actions as foundational, transformative goals.
-The AGA is reaching out, engaging and actively listening to the BIPOC community as part of our solution-discovery. This will begin with a roundtable discussion with BIPOC artists and community members as soon as it can be arranged; and will inform an ongoing course of meetings with individual organizations and BIPOC community representatives; the formation of an AGA Equity Committee, and the creation of a meaningful and organic community outreach plan developed with guidance from external community stakeholders.
-BIPOC artists are included in all upcoming AGA group exhibitions of contemporary art in 2020 and 2021.
What we are doing with respect to the Biennial of Contemporary Art:
-Since its inception in 1996, all of the 11 Alberta Biennial exhibitions have included the work of Indigenous artists and artists of colour. We acknowledge, however, that there have been no Black artists represented in the Biennial in this time, and will work to ensure the representation of Black artists in future.
-In 2020, the Biennial was re-thought in an attempt to question its structure and de-centre its focus, and to expand beyond the provincial borders of Alberta. This year, 13 of 39 artists are Indigenous and/or artists of colour, and 2 of 4 curators are Indigenous. We will use the momentum and the work that these curators have initiated to continue to re-envision what the Biennial will be in the future.
-We have postponed the 2022 Biennial to give time for the careful work that is needed to create equitable structures for its future formation and curation. Over the next year, in addition to the roundtable discussion with BIPOC artists, the AGA will be hosting open public forums to discuss the past and potential future of the Biennial, to learn from our community and set a new direction.
-As a part of this, the public call for submissions and curatorial selection processes will be re-assessed to ensure that they are expansive, inclusive and representative of artists living in Alberta.