Momus Emerging Critics Residency
Southern Summer / Northern Winter 2022 Edition
“Writing Relations, Making Futurities: Global Indigenous Art Criticism”
Great Ocean February 7-11, 2022 & Turtle Island + Arctic March 14-18, 2022
Led by Dr. Léuli Eshrāghi
Drawing on the complexity and diversity of Indigenous art criticism that is documented in gatherings, aesthetic and performative practices, as well as in publications, this Momus Emerging Critics Residency led by Dr. Léuli Eshrāghi (Sāmoan: Apia, Salelologa, Siʻumu, Leulumoega) was dedicated to global Indigenous art criticism, history, theory, orature, and relationality. This gathering was a digital territory where shared destinies are fully recognized between our many homelands under settler colonial, militourist, and extractivist occupations. This residency formed a kin constellation where innovation and validation go hand in hand with respect to our many ceremonial-political and intellectual practices. This platform was built for emerging and experienced Indigenous critics, writers, curators, historians, and theorists to share compelling developments in situated community-level practices and transnational movements.
Participants in Writing Relations, Making Futurities will develop texts that were informed by the breadth of global Indigenous art criticism, cultural protocols, and citational practices, prioritized in the sessions led by leading practitioners belonging to Indigenous communities around the world. This Momus Emerging Critics Residency complements the visionary work being undertaken in the following initiatives: Art Monthly Australasia’s Indigenous Voices Program; C Magazine and Indigenous Curatorial Collective/Collectif des commissaires autochtones’ (ICCA) Indigenous Art Writing Award; The Pantograph Punch’s Pacific Arts Legacy Project; Artlink Magazine’s Indigenous art annual issue (and First Nations editors to be announced); First American Magazine; and with the rising corpus of recent writing in un magazine, Runway Journal, Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas Journal, Running Dog, Flux Hawaiʻi, among others.
The Momus Emerging Critics Residency, Southern Summer / Northern Winter, 2022 Edition was led by Dr. Léuli Eshrāghi (Sāmoan: Apia, Salelologa, Siʻumu, Leulumoega) and offered exclusively to a global Indigenous cohort. Titled “Writing Relations, Making Futurities: Global Indigenous Art Criticism,” this intensive two-week online residency assembles Indigenous art writers, educators, editors, and publishers to draw on the complexity and diversity of Indigenous art criticism and together strengthen practice.
Eshrāghi and a group of leading Indigenous critics, writers, publishers, editors, curators, historians, and theorists shared compelling developments in situated community-level practices and transnational movements, offering emerging Indigenous writers a space for sustained discussion, writing, and mentorship.
Participants in “Writing Relations, Making Futurities” have begun to develop texts that are informed by the breadth of global Indigenous art criticism, cultural protocols, and citational practices, prioritized in the sessions led by practitioners belonging to Indigenous communities around the world. Participants will have access to continued mentorship for writing and pitching in the seasons following the Residency. We are currently working to identify publication opportunities for participants post-residency.
The two-week program took place online across two separate weeks, engaging participants in 10 days (3 hours per day) of workshops, writing, and lectures. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, the residency took place in separate time zones for its respective weeks, centred on Southern Summer and Northern Winter.
A panel of session leaders belonging to Indigenous communities situated in the Great Ocean, Turtle Island, and the Arctic together assessed applications to gather the first international Indigenous cohort of the Momus Emerging Critics Residency. The panel recognized that there are multiple forms of community-affirmed indigeneity and of Indigenous governance, as well as significant barriers to deepened cultural connections. The panel will prioritize applicants with lived experiences of their indigeneity and connections to ancestral land/water territory.
Dr. Ngarino Ellis | Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou | Associate Professor, Art History, University of Auckland
Dr. Léuli Eshrāghi | Sāmoa | Curatorial Researcher in Residence (Blue Assembly), University of Queensland Art Museum, and Curator of 9th TarraWarra Biennial of Australian Art (2023)
Dr. Stephen Gilchrist | Yamatji | Lecturer, Indigenous Art, and Deputy Director, Power Institute, University of Sydney
Dr. Liisa-Rávná Finbog | Sámi | Postdoctoral Fellow: Mediated Arctic Geographies, Tampere University and Co-Curator, Sámi Pavilion, Biennale di Venezia – Arte (2022)
Dr. Lana Lopesi | Sāmoa | Editor in Chief, Pacific Arts Legacy Project, and Kaitohu Taupua Interim Director, The Pantograph Punch
Taqralik Partridge | Nunavimmiuq | Director, Nordic Lab, SAW Centre
Dr. Joseph M. Pierce | Cherokee | Associate Professor, Hispanic Languages and Literature, Stony Brook University, Lenapehoking / New York City
Dr. Jolene Rickard | Skarù:ręˀ / Tuscarora | Artist, Curator, and Associate Professor of the History of Art and Visual Studies / Director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, Cornell University
Lagi-Maama co-founders: Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai (Tongan) and Tolumaʻanave Barbara Makuati-Afitu (Sāmoan).
The cohort for this edition was determined in early 2022, and adjudicated by 4 session leaders.
The fifth edition of the Momus Emerging Critics Residency was supported by the Indigenous Curatorial Collective (ICCA), Concordia University’s Art Volt at the Faculty of Fine Arts, The Ohio State University’s Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy, Colby College Art Museum, the Council for Canadian American Relations (CCAR), and former US Ambassadors to Canada Bruce and Vicki Heyman. Through these partners, full tuition was covered for every participant.
About the Momus Emerging Critics Residency
In the past several years, following a decades-long and exhaustively debated “crisis” in art criticism, the art publishing field is once again being reanimated. We are experiencing a level of urgency in our cultural environment that demands thoughtful, incisive, and well-structured criticism; a groundswell of small art publishers and a growing online readership has emerged to meet the moment.
Art criticism is increasingly animated through smaller, not-for-profit, and ad-hoc publications (which are, themselves, increasingly based online, and therefore better able to launch and circulate), and playing host to a number of pressing conversations regarding a renewed ethics in art. However, despite the recent swell in independently-published criticism, the field at large has never been so precarious for those working within it. Through the ongoing pandemic, most major art publishers are freezing their freelance budgets; and the same editors who are seeking historically undervalued writers and perspectives often take liberty with these authors’ bylines, do damage, or gate-keep to the exclusion of important positions. How do we more transparently chart the opportunities and revitalized potential in the field of art writing, as we work to better identify the risks?
Starting in 2019, Momus began hosting Momus Emerging Critics Residencies in an effort to attend to the heightened stakes, increasing potential, and the renewed challenges for art criticism and publishing—and to do so outside of a traditional MFA program. As we model trajectories, trade information, and chart paths and boundaries for emerging critics and publishers, we seek to channel our mentorship through both encouragement and guidance.
Each Residency is led by a network of esteemed critics, publishers, curators, and educators who provide real-world guidance and support for emerging art writers. Momus Residencies prioritize Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, both on the leadership and participant levels. In these rooms, we speak to the lived realities of our experiences in this field, trade knowledge, and establish trust.
Momus has produced four successful editions of the Momus Emerging Critics Residency, to increasingly high demand, and reached participants across North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Residency and the network that develops out of it works to put emerging art writers in the field; past participants have gone on to publish and edit with Momus, Canadian Art, C Magazine, Artforum, BmoreArt, Texte zur Kunst, frieze, March among others. Many former residents have won national writing awards and fellowships in Canada and their home countries.
Past session leaders include Rahel Aima, Hannah Black, Daisy Desrosiers, Léuli Eshrāghi, Ebony L. Haynes, Candice Hopkins, Emmanuel Iduma, Nora N. Khan, Jessica Lynne, Mark Mann, Tausif Noor , Saelan Twerdy, and Catherine G. Wagley among others.