For the past 30 years, Dr. Gerald McMaster has worked tirelessly —as a visual artist, curator, and scholar—to increase the knowledge and appreciation of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit art, nationally and internationally. He has been a prominent leader in winning acceptance for Native contemporary art in the very difficult art world and he has accomplished much. In 1979, at the First Nations University in Regina, he developed the first Bachelor of Art (Native Art) program. He then created the first national Indian and Inuit art gallery at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in Ottawa, where he was Curator from 1981 to 2000. More recently, he was appointed to the dual roles of Deputy Assistant Director for Cultural Resources and Director’s Special Assistant for Mall Exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. He now has the distinction of serving as curatorial and cultural resource in the opening of two new national museums, in Ottawa and Washington.
Dr. McMaster studied fine art at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He attained a Master of Arts in Anthropology (with distinction) from Carleton University and, in 1999, he earned a doctorate at the University of Amsterdam’s School for Cultural Analysis. As an artist, his work has been extensively exhibited, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Ottawa Art Gallery, Edmonton Art Gallery, Carleton University Art Gallery, SITES Santa Fe, the UBC-Museum of Anthropology, and the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery. He is in great demand as a curator and lecturer and receives invitations from numerous cultural institutions. As an author, his writings are widely published. As an art curator, his leading edge exhibitions have been presented in museums and galleries throughout Canada, the US and Europe. In 1995, he was selected as Canadian Commissioner to the Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious exhibition, the first Aboriginal to be chosen for this high honour. And, in 2001, Dr. McMaster was the first Aboriginal to receive the ICOM-Canada Prize for national and international contributions in museology. Gerald McMaster lives in Ottawa, Ontario and works in Washington, DC.