Art, Antiques & Museums Arts & Culture

Tate seeks to increase representation of Indigenous artists

  • April 18, 2024
  • 2 min read
Tate seeks to increase representation of Indigenous artists

Tate has announced a new initiative dedicated to bringing more work by Indigenous artists into its collection. Building on the success of recent acquisitions and custodianship agreements, this strategy seeks to create a step-change in the number of contemporary artists from Indigenous communities around the world whose work is represented at Tate.

The programme launches with a four-year commitment from the AKO Foundation to fund acquisitions of Sámi and Inuit art from Northern Europe. This continues the AKO Foundation’s generous support of Tate over recent years, including for the exhibitions Olafur Eliasson (2019), the Turner Prize (2021) and Surrealism Beyond Borders (2022), as well as a programme of events at Tate Modern to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in 2021.

Similar projects to research, collect and display the work of artists from other Indigenous communities will follow, including in South Asia, Oceania and the Americas. These will strengthen the work of Tate’s existing acquisition committees in these regions and further Tate’s commitment to championing art in all its diversity.

The first works to be acquired through the new fund will be Outi Pieski’s woven hanging installation Guržot ja guovssat / Spell on You! 2020 and its companion piece Skábmavuođđu /Spell on Me! 2024, created during her residency at Porthmeor Studios in Cornwall. The artist has described how the laborious act of weaving these installations “references ritual, sacrifice, redress, atonement, and the contradictory forces in Sámi societies.”

This will mark the first time a Sámi artist has entered the collection, coinciding with Pieski’s acclaimed exhibition at Tate St Ives (open until 6 May 2024) where the works are currently on display. On 28th April, 2024, the artist will join a panel discussion at Tate Modern alongside Maree Clarke (Boon Wurrung, Mutti Mutti, Wamba Wamba, Yorta Yorta First Nations peoples, Australia) to discuss Indigenous contemporary practice and its relationship to the regeneration of land and culture.

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