Agnes’s (re) Emergence: out of the gates; we are on our way

After a six-month retreat (Jan-June) into our collections and away from our institutional formalities—a period of packing and prototyping—Agnes is reopening with an exhibition, a procession and a series of sharing and talking circles. These events are invitations, designed to bring you closer to our work. Come participate in the wild, roller coaster ride of Agnes Reimagined!

Join us on Friday 14 July, from 6 to 8 pm for the exhibition celebration of Emergence: A Recent Gift of Indigenous Art. The exhibition shines a light on the path-defining collection of Guardian Capital Group Limited, formed in the 1970s and now proudly housed at Agnes. On Saturday 15 July, from 1 to 3 pm, participate in 2023’s inaugural sharing circle for Agnes Reimagined, before taking to the streets with Vulindlela: Out the Gates Procession to honour the transit of the Lang Collection of African Art to its off-site abode through music, poetry and dance. The procession departs Agnes at 3:30 pm.

Get involved at Agnes this year before construction begins, for real, in May 2024!

Emergence: A Recent Gift of Indigenous Art

1 July – 12 November 2023
Exhibition Celebration: In-Person, 14 July, 6–8 pm

Emergence highlights important early and mid-career works of art by contemporary Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island, North and South including Pauloosie Akitirq, Malaya Akulukjuk, Elizabeth Angrnaqquaq, Kenojuak Ashevak, Irene Avaalaaqiaq, Benjamin Chee Chee, Sarah Elijassiapik, Robert Houle, Elisapee Ishulutaq, Alex Janvier, Eugenie Tautoonie Kabluitok, Helen Kalvak, R. Gary Miller, Norval Morrisseau, Agnes Nanogak, Peter Nauja, Celina Tuajuk Ningark, William Noah, Jessie Oonark, Parr, Peter Pitseolak, Lypa Pitsiulak, Kananginak Pootoogook, Lukta Qiatsuk, Abraham Anghik Ruben, Joe Talirunili and Judas Ullulaq.

On view at Agnes for the first time, this collection provides a cohesive vision of the approaches and concerns of artists working in the 1970s. Both emerging and elder artists experimented with various media, in drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture and textiles. In that formative decade, chosen materials and techniques resulted in art forms championed through established community centres, craft guilds and art galleries. These artists shaped new artistic markets and became influential advocates and innovators in the field of contemporary and Indigenous art, forging paths for future generations of artists.

Emergence is drawn from a recent gift to Agnes of Indigenous art by Guardian Capital Group Limited and by Hunter and Valerie Thompson.

Funded by Guardian Capital Indigenous Art Fund.

Agnes Reimagined Sharing and Talking Circles

15 July, 23 September and 2 December, 1–3 pm
Sign up for 15 July, in-person at Agnes / Sign up for 15 July, online

A slow and intentional community-engaged design process takes time. It is unpredictable and exciting! As we transition from schematic design into design development, we reconvene our sharing and talking circles for Agnes Reimagined, recapping what has already taken shape, clearing the path for the future. Led by our collaborator, Anishinaabe-kwe artist and consultant Georgina Riel, these sessions are aligned with various key moments for KPMB Architects who are listening to what people bring to the table, incorporating our ideas, suggestions and values into the various design iterations (and there are many!).

Everyone is welcome! July’s circle is both in-person and online, with ASL.

Vulindlela: Out the Gates Procession

In-Person at Agnes, 15 July, 3:30–5 pm
Sign up >

South African music icon Brenda Fassie’s Vulindlela was released in 1997 after the end of apartheid. Although it was still part of a deeply racially divided social milieu, it rose to become an anthem of celebration and expressed the hope of freedom. In July 2023 the Lang Collection of African Art makes the journey, along with Indigenous ancestors and Queen’s transfer collection, to a new temporary abode on campus while we prepare for Agnes Reimagined. As a moment of celebration, Agnes staff and members of the broader community enact a procession that honors the African collection through music, poetry and dance.

Participants in the procession will be gifted a curated poetry bundle. Eleven Metal Tongues is written by award winning poet, Juliane Okot Bitek. The Lang Collection of African Art acted as a catalyst for the poems. This project emerges out of our community-engaged collection care project during Agnes’s 2023 retreat.

Curated by Qanita Lilla, Associate Curator, Arts of Africa

Agnes Etherington Art Centre logo

Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Situated within territories of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a curatorially-driven and research-intensive professional art centre that proudly serves a dual mandate as a leading, internationally recognized public art gallery and as an active pedagogical resource at Queen’s University in Kingston. By commissioning, researching, collecting and stewarding works of art, and by exhibiting and interpreting visual culture through an intersectional lens, Agnes creates opportunities for participation and exchange across communities, cultures, histories and geographies.

Agnes is committed to anti-racism. We work to eradicate institutional biases and develop accountable programs that centre the artistic expression and lived experience of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Agnes promotes 2SLGBTQIAP+ positive spaces.

36 University Avenue
Kingston, ON K7L 3N6

Agnes is an accessible venue.

Facebook: @aeartcentre
Twitter: @aeartcentre
Instagram: @aeartcentre

For press inquiries, contact Kate Yüksel, Communications Coordinator at

1. Jessie Oonark, Untitled, around 1970, wool felt and cotton thread. Gift of Guardian Capital Group Limited, 2020. Photo: Bernard Clark. Public Trustee for Nunavut, Estate of Jessie Oonark
2. “Agnes’s Living Room.” Ground floor concept for Agnes Reimagined. Rendering by Studio Sang. Courtesy of KPMB Architects
3. The Collection of African Art is lovingly moved to Agnes’s galleries before a second move to a new temporary home on campus. Photo: Tim Forbes