For revolutionizing the study and influence of Indigenous art
For more than three decades, Lee-Ann Martin’s commitment to Indigenous art has been matched only by her ability to assess and transform the cultural institutions responsible for its stewardship and promotion.
During her 1989-90 residency at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC), now the Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau, Quebec, she produced The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion: Contemporary Native Art and Public Art Museums in Canada. The report led the Canada Council for the Arts to develop an acquisition program for works by contemporary Indigenous artists, which helped correct their longstanding systemic exclusion from public collections. In the decades since, her institutional advocacy has continued to reshape how provincial and national arts councils support Indigenous art.
While at the CMC, Martin co-curated INDIGENA: Perspectives of Indigenous Peoples on Five Hundred Years, which toured internationally. Many exceptional curatorial projects followed, including a 2018 exhibition of 150 Indigenous women artists on billboards across Canada entitled Resilience.
Beyond her institutional advisory work and her national and international curating, research and lecturing activities, Martin has also made important contributions to the development of Indigenous education programs. In 2019 she was awarded a Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.