New director in place
We welcome our new director and chief curator, Katya García-Antón, to the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum. García-Antón started in the position on 1st of August and joins us from the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA).
Her last project before arriving in the north was the commissioning and cocuration of the transformation of the Nordic Pavilion into the Sámi Pavilion in this year's Venice Biennale, whose pavilion artists and programme of activities have garnered great attention at home and abroad.
– This is a historic project, which comes at a critical time in the history of the Nordic region, when Truth and Reconciliation Commissions addressing Nordic colonialism are underway and when important restitution claims for their material culture are being made by the Sámi in the Nordic region and abroad. The Sámi artists presented, Pauliina Feodoroff, Maret Anne Sara and Anders Sunna, are leaders of their generation, powerful creators committed to defending Sami worldviews, particularly the interdependence between lands, waters, fauna, flora, various entities and people. At a time when the Arctic is experiencing the unprecedented consequences of climate change, and humanity is globally reassessing their ways of living on this planet, their artistic practice is urgent for the entire world to consider, says García-Antón.
The new director is happy to be present at the museum and looks forward to starting work in a region she describes as increasingly important internationally.
- I have a great love for the North, and I am very much looking forward to leading the Northern Norwegian Art Museum, and having the opportunity to build on the museum's wonderful history of collecting and presenting regional, national and international art. I am particularly looking forward to being able to help expand the special role the museum has in strengthening Indigenous perspectives in a part of the world increasingly in international focus as important aspects of the future of the planet are taking place right here, says García-Antón.
Prior to her involvement at the OCA, García-Antón worked at the The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, the BBC, the National Museum Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and the IKON Gallery in Birmingham, UK. She served as director of the Centre d´Art Contemporain in Geneva from 2002 to 2011, and curated the Spanish Pavilion in 2011, and the Nordic Pavilion in 2015 at the Venice Biennale.
About Katya García-Antón:
She graduated with a BA in Biology from Bristol University, UK, carried out two years of pre-doctoral field research in ecology and behaviour in the Amazon and Sierra Leone, and switched to art with an MA in 19th and 20th Century Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Arts, London. A British and Spanish citizen, she has worked at The Courtauld Institute of Art, BBC World Service (Latin American Broadcasts), Museo Nacional Reina Sofía Madrid, ICA London, IKON Birmingham, Director of the Centre d'Art Contemporain (CAC) Geneva, and as Director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), Oslo She is responsible for more than ninety exhibitions of art, architecture and design by practitioners all over the world.
She curated the Nordic Pavilion in the Venice Biennale in 2015, and in 2022 she comissioned and cocurated the Sámi Pavilion, as well as the Spanish Pavilions in the São Paolo Biennale 2004 and in the Venice Biennale 2011. She was also cocurator in the Prague Biennale 2005, and was the curator of the flagship exhibition 'Gestures in Time' in Qalandiya International Biennial 2012 in Jerusalem / Ramallah. In 2015, she launched Critical Writing Ensembles, a platform dedicated to stimulating research into, and writing of, art history that extends beyond the Western sphere (including South Asian and Indigenous perspectives).
In OCA she prepared 'Thinking at the Edge of the World: Perspectives from the North' in 2015 as an ongoing program of knowledge building (exhibitions and symposia) that addresses the stories of the North - including interconnected Arctic, Indigenous and environmental issues - that also facilitates the strengthening of Sami artistic practices and stories. In this regard, García-Antón has placed particular emphasis on arguing for and implementing decolonial, transformative and Indigenous methods and programs. Among these projects are the upcoming discussions, and commission of a new work of art in the public space in Oslo in connection with Truth and Reconciliation process in Norway, realized together with the Sami Council and KORO.
She was chief curator (assisted by three OCA colleagues) of the recent large-scale, international exhibition 'Actions of Art and Solidarity', hosted by Kunstnerneshus in Oslo in 2021, connected to which a comprehensive publication launches this fall. She prepared a program together with her team at OCA facilitating a platform for writing, debate and creation together with African-Norwegian communities in Norway, and connecting with peers in Africa and the Caribbean.