Igloliorte, Heather

Professor, researcher, curator and visual artist born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Nunatsiavut) in 1979.

Heather Igloliorte, also known as Heather Lynette Igloliorte, was born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, in 1979. Her mother was originally from Newfoundland and her father, James Igloliorte, was the first Inuk to serve as a judge in the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Igloliorte family has its roots in Hopedale, a village in northern Labrador and the legislative capital of today’s Nunatsiavut.

Heather Igloliorte began her career as a visual artist. Like her brother, painter Mark Igloliorte, she graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax (Nova Scotia) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003, where she began her painting and drawing practice. However, in 2003, she was involved in a motor vehicle accident that forced her to spend a year in physical therapy. She then pursued art history at Carleton University in Ottawa (Ontario), where she obtained a Master's degree in Canadian Art History in 2007 and a PhD in Cultural Mediation in 2013. Heather Igloliorte's Master's thesis (2006) examines the influence of Canadian artist, designer and author James Archibald Houston on the development of Inuit art in the Canadian Eastern Arctic. Her doctoral thesis, entitled "Nunatsiavummi Sananguagusigisimajangit. Nunatsiavut Art History: Continuity, Resilience, and Transformation in Inuit Art", is the first art history essay devoted to Nunatsiavut, and makes her the first Inuk art historian to hold a PhD in Canada. Prior to obtaining her PhD, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective (2005-2011) and is the author of the bilingual (English, French) exhibition catalogue We Were so Far Away: The Inuit Experience of Residential Schools (2008, 2010). In it, she shares the testimonies of eight residential school survivors collected in 2008.

In the fall of 2012, Heather Igloliorte joined the Department of Art History at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec as a professor, holding the Concordia University Research Chair in Aboriginal Art History and Community Engagement. Her teaching and research activities focus on the visual and material culture of indigenous circumpolar arts and the promotion of these arts, associated with the reappropriation of indigenous identity within a colonial context. Heather Igloliorte's curatorial activities have nourished her numerous academic publications. In addition to articles published in numerous collective works, she has published three exhibition catalogues. Decolonize Me. Décolonisez-moi (2012) is a bilingual (English, French) catalogue of an exhibition presented at the Ottawa Art Gallery in 2012 which toured Canada between 2013 and 2015. Inuit Art: The Brousseau Collection: Collection Guide (2016), describes the Inuit art collection at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and was translated into French by Ève Renaud under the title Art inuit : la collection Brousseau : guide de collection (2016). SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (2017) is a catalogue of the SakKijâjuk exhibition presented in St. John's, Newfoundland, as part of the 20th Inuit Studies Conference (2016).  During this congress, Heather Igloliorte, along with Britt Gallpen and Mark Turner, co-organized the first iNuit blanche art gallery crawl, which included the participation of her brother Mark Igloliorte.

Among her many responsibilities, Heather Igloliorte co-directs with Jason Edward Lewis, the Aboriginal Futures Initiative (AFI), a research cluster at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology (Montréal). She is on the Board of Directors of the Native North American Art Studies Association, the leading authority on the history of Native American art. She is a member of the editorial board of the Inuit Art Quarterly, as well as a member of the Boards of the Inuit Art Foundation and the Nunavut Film Corporation. As a member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committees of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the National Film Board of Canada, Heather Igloliorte is in several positions of authority and advocacy for Inuit culture and society. She is involved in preserving the heritage of Inuit artists. The Alootook Ipellie retrospective exhibition, "Walking Both Sides of an Invisible Border", was created for the Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa) in 2018. The exhibition "Nunatsiavut – Our Beautiful Land" at La Guilde, an art gallery located in Montreal showcases Heather Campbell’s ink drawings. In 2018, Heather Igloliorte joined a team of Inuit curators, including director Asinnajaq (Isabella Rose Weetaluktuk) also a graduate of NSCAD. Together, they prepared the exhibition "Inuk Style" for the 2020 opening of the Qaumajuq Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Additionally, Heather Igloliorte places her activities as a teacher-researcher and curator at the service of the Inuit community. In 2019, she received significant funding from SSHRC for her project "Supporting Inuit Career, Graduate and Research Capacity in the Arts: Pathways to Best Practices", which aims to increase Inuit participation in university-based arts research. In 2020, in the context of the confinement required by the Covid-19 health crisis, she has organized online arts and crafts workshops. This project, called "De-ice-olation" aims to break the isolation of Inuit and aboriginal artists while promoting the transmission of their cultures.

Heather Igloliorte currently lives in Montréal.

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at imaginairedunord@uqam.ca and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.

(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.