Curator, writer, and artist, EMELIE CHHANGUR, is the newly appointed Director and Curator of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. This appointment follows a significant curatorial career at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU). At AGYU, she led the reorientation of the gallery to become a civic, community-facing, ethical space driven by social process and intersectional collaboration; she founded the gallery’s residency program and received 25 OAAG awards for her contributions in writing, publishing, exhibition-making, public and education programming. Over the past 20 years, Chhangur has emerged as a leading voice for experimental curatorial practice in Canada and is celebrated nationally and internationally for her process-based, participatory curatorial practice, the commissioning of complex works across all media, and the creation of long-term collaborative projects performatively staged within and outside the gallery context. Chhangur has published numerous books on contemporary art and regularly contributes articles to art journals, peer review essays to anthologies, and presents her research at conferences internationally.
Distinguishing herself as a cultural worker dedicated to questioning the social and civic role of the public institutions of art, Chhangur has developed a curatorially-engaged approach to working across cultural, aesthetic, and social differences through a practice she calls “in-reach”—a concept that has since transformed engaged institutional practice in the arts across Canada. In 2019, she won the Ontario Association of Art Galleries’ inaugural BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) Changemaker Award and was a finalist for the Margo Bindhardt and Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award. In 2020, she won the prestigious The Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence. She holds a Master of Visual Studies from the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto.