Queen's University

Dr. Norman Vorano

Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Art Conservation

Queen's National Scholar


I am an Associate Professor in Art History and a Queen’s National Scholar, with a cross appointment to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, as Curator, Indigenous Art. In 2017, I was awarded the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship for my work linking museum, art collections, and Inuit communities. I received my PhD from the University of Rochester’s Program in Visual and Cultural Studies and my MA from York University, Toronto. I was the Curator of Contemporary Inuit Art at the Canadian Museum of History (formerly Canadian Museum of Civilization) from 2005 to 2014.  I am a past board member of the Native American Art Studies Association (NAASA), have served on the editorial board of the Inuit Art Quarterly, and am a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society

My research and teaching are in the area of historic and contemporary Indigenous arts of North America as well as in curatorial/museum studies. I am particularly interested in Indigenous arts in “contact zones”;  community revitalization through arts and culture; art, politics, and the colonial encounter; and the ancient movements of visual culture through the dynamics of trade, travel and migration. My upper-year and graduate seminars have explored Indigenous modernism(s), Indigenous printmaking in a global context, Decolonizing the Museum, and I frequently teach introductory surveys of Indigenous arts of North America as well as specialized topics on North American Indigenous arts, particularly on arts of the Arctic.

Currently, I have several research initiatives on the go. I am working in the North Baffin Island region on a long-term research and exhibition project that focuses on modernity and documentary graphic arts. In addition to a traveling exhibition — Picturing Arctic Modernity: North Baffin Drawings from 1964 — one of the key outputs of this work is to use digital, networked technology to link communities with their cultural heritage in southern museums. I'm also a research partner in a comparative project that explores Indigenous modernisms from around the globe, Multiple Modernisms: Twentieth Century Artistic Modernisms in Global Perspective. A series of volumes are now forthcoming from this working group.  

Most Recent Project

Arctic Cultural Heritage Research Network (ACHRN)

photo: Queen's researcher and Trudeau Fellowship recipient, Dr. Vorano, in Clyde River, NunavutThis project is funded in part by the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Fellowship Award. It partners with Nunavummiut and museums to develop digital technologies that will share Arctic heritage resources and Inuit cultural knowledge to build and empower Northern communities.

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Other Projects

  • Mapping Modernisms: Art, Indigeneity, Colonialism

    Cover for book: Mapping Modernisms, Indigeneity, Colonialism, which includes a contribution by Queen's researcher and Associate Professor, Dr. Norman Vorano. Book cover depicts a print of Indigenous artwork.Bringing together a diverse group of scholars from around the globe, this research project examines from a comparative perspective the emergence of Indigenous modern arts in the 20th century, and its links to discourses of “primitivism”, nationalism, and the politics of Indigenous activism and recognition. It challenges and expands the canonical definition of modern art, and seeks to understand the ways Indigenous artists—often overlooked, or consigned to regional contexts— engaged with the philosophies and aesthetics of modern art, creating new artistic forms that married their longstanding visual traditions and western formats.

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  • Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration: Early Printmaking in the Canadian Arctic

    Book cover: Inuit Prints, Japanese Inspiration: Early Printmaking in the Canadian Arctic, by Queen's researcher Norman Verano. Cover art: Owl, Fox and Hare Legend, by artist Osuitok Ipeelee,1959, This book was released in conjunction with the travelling exhibition ... which was produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization and opened at the Embassy of Canada's Prince Takamado Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.

    Some fifty years ago, the remote Arctic community of Cape Dorset was introduced to the ancient traditions of Japanese printmaking by a Canadian artist, James Houston, who had studied printmaking in Japan with the revered master printmaker Un'ichi Hiratsuka. The remarkable story of that artistic encounter and its extraordinary results are the focus of this groundbreaking book.


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