Image of Norman Vorano

Norman Vorano

Department Head, Associate Professor

Department of Art History and Art Conservation

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A Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Art and Material Culture, Norman Vorano received his PhD from the University of Rochester’s Program in Visual and Cultural Studies and his MA (Art History) and BFA (Visual Art) from York University, Toronto. From 2005 to 2014, he was the Curator of Contemporary Inuit Art at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly Canadian Museum of Civilization). He has been an elected board member of the Native American Art Studies Association (NAASA), served on the editorial board of the Inuit Art Quarterly, and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. He is a 2017 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellow, for a project that will entail the development and creation of an Arctic Cultural Heritage Research Network (ACHRN). In addition to his teaching and advising duties in the Department, he is cross-appointed to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, as Curator of Indigenous Art.

Vorano's research and teaching is in the area of historic and contemporary Indigenous arts of North America as well as in curatorial/museum studies. His focus is on Indigenous arts in “contact zones”, and teaches, advises and researches in the area of Indigenous art and the "Global Indigenous", colonialism and visual cultures, and various topics related to museum and curatorial studies. His upper-year courses and graduate seminars have explored Indigenous modernism(s), the marketing of culture, and digital museum cultures (including VR/AR/interactive technologies). He offers introductory surveys of Indigenous arts of North America and other specialized topics, with a particular focus on the arts of the Arctic. Vorano has curated several international touring exhibitions, including Inuit Prints, Japanese Inspiration: Early Printmaking in the Canadian Arctic (2011-2013), which toured Canada and Japan, and Picturing Arctic Modernity: North Baffin Drawings from 1964 (2017-2019), which is now touring across Canada, including satellite exhibitions in Clyde River, Pond Inlet, and Iqaluit, Nunavut. 

Vorano currently has several research initiatives on the go. He is a research partner in a comparative project housed at the University of Cambridge that explores Indigenous modernisms from around the globe, Multiple Modernisms: Twentieth Century Artistic Modernisms in Global Perspective. He continues to work in North Baffin region on a long-term research project to empower Northern communities by fostering links with cultural heritage resources in museums outside the Arctic. 

Recent Books

Co-editor (with Dr. Ruth Phillips), Mediating Modernism: Indigenous Artists, Modernist Mediators, Global Networks, Duke University Press, 2019.

Inuit Prints, Japanese Inspiration: Early Printmaking in the Canadian Arctic, Gatineau, QC: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2011

Recent Publications

“Things: The Agency of Objects or Objects of Appropriation? The Toronto Airport Inuksuit,” in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Visual Culture, edited by Catherine Zuromskis, Joan Saab, and Aubrey Anable, 2020. (peer reviewed)

With Jennifer Burgess, “‘Even Banks Have Large Windows That Need Draperies’: Marketing Canada in Cape Dorset Textiles,” in Qallunaaqtait Sikusilaarmit: Printed Textiles from Kinngait Studios, Edited by Roxane Shaughnessy and Anna Richard, Toronto, ON: Textile Museum of Canada: 65 – 73, 2019.

“Cape Dorset Cosmopolitans: Making ‘Local’ Prints in Global Modernity,” in Mapping Modernisms: Indigenous and Colonial Networks of Artistic Exchange, Edited by Ruth Phillips and Elizabeth Harney, Duke University Press: 209-234, 2018. (peer reviewed)

“We All Have to Live By What We Know’: Activating Memoryscapes in the North Baffin Inuit Drawing Collection to Understand Environmental Change,” Artistic Visions of the Anthropocene North: Climate Change and Nature in Art, Edited by Gry Hedin and Ann-Sofie Gremaud, London, UK: Routledge: 76-93, 2018.

“Curatorial Notes: Picturing Arctic Modernity,” Inuit Art Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Fall): 134 – 139, 2017.

“Inuit Art: Canada’s Soft Power Resource to Fight Communism,” Journal of Curatorial Studies, Vol. 5, No. 13 (2016): 312-338, 2016.

“Angokwazhuk’s Walrus Tusk,” in Art of the North American Indians: The Thaw Collection, edited by Eva Fognell, Alexander Brier Marr, Gilbert Vincent, Sherry Brydon and Ralph T. Coe, Cooperstown, NY: Fenimore Art Museum: 498, 2016.