Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe curator, image and word warrior and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation, in Georgian Bay. Based in Toronto, Nanibush is the inaugural curator of Indigenous Art and co-lead of the Indigenous + Canadian Art Department at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Nanibush did her undergraduate studies at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, where she overlapped with Tariq Gordon, Embassy Cultural House Managing Editor and Website Developer. They worked together on Arthur, Trent’s student newspaper. She went on to receive her M.A. in Visual Studies from University of Toronto where she has also taught graduate courses. She was the 2013 Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitor at University of Toronto.
In 2017, she curated the ground-breaking exhibition Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971 - 1989 for the AGO and edited the accompanying exhibition publication in 2018. She curated the AGO's survey exhibition on Rebecca Belmore, Facing the Monumental (2019), which toured across Canada and the U.S. Other exhibitions include Rita Letendre: Fire & Light (AGO, 2017); Sovereign Acts (Multiple venues, 2012-2019); Nanabozho’s Sisters (Multiple venues, 2019); Fifth World (multiple Venues, 2015); House of Wayward Spirits (Toronto, 2016); A Future Past (Michigan, New York, 2014); Mapping Resistances (Peterborough, 2010); Chronotopic Village (Modern Fuel, 2009).
Nanibush recently opened the exhibitions Shuvinai Ashoona Beyond the Visible (AGO, 2021); Rebecca Belmore Turbulent Water (Australia, 2021); and has ongoing exhibitions at the AGO including Karoo Ashevak, Michael Belmore, Peter Pitseolak and the J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous + Canadian Art.
Nanibush is currently working on the book Violence No More: The Rise of Indigenous Women (in progress). Some of her works also include contributions to the books, Women in a Globalizing World: Equality, Development, Diversity and Peace and This is an Honour Song: Twenty Years since the Blockades. She co-edited York University’s InTensions journal on “The Resurgence of Indigenous Women’s Knowledge and Resistance in Relation to Land and Territoriality”, and the book The Winter We Danced: Voices from the Past, the Future, and the Idle No More Movement (Arp Press). In addition to articles in Aperture Magazine, Literary Review of Canada, Art in America, and Canadian Art, she has written numerous catalogue essays on Indigenous and Canadian artists.
Nanibush is a sought-after commentator and change-maker for decolonizing and Indigenizing museums. This led the New York Times to call her "one of the most powerful voices for Indigenous culture in the North American art world.”
Nanibush is currently curating Robert Houle Red is Beautiful, a fifty-year retrospective set to open at the AGO on December 3, 2021. She is also organizing the third aabaakwad, a gathering of International Indigenous artists, curators and thinkers that moves around internationally. Nanibush founded aabaakwad in 2018 and presented the 2020 one at the Sydney Biennial, Australia.
Select exhibitions curated: