THE MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS (MMFA) has hired a new curator. Eunice Bélidor is joining the museum as the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Curator of Quebec and Canadian Contemporary Art (1945 to Today). The news was announced April 7.

The appointment is historic. Bélidor is the first Black full-time curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Founded 161 years ago, MMFA is Canada’s oldest and most popular art museum, with nearly 1.2 million visitors in 2019.

 


Curator Eunice Bélidor. | Photo © Charlène Daguin

 

“This is something that happens in all the institutions I go through,” Bélidor told the Montreal Gazette. “Wherever I have been hired before, it always sends that message (of change), because I’m usually the first Black person holding that position.”

A Montreal native, Bélidor established her career as an independent curator, critic, and researcher. Over the past decade, she has organized exhibitions and projects in Montreal, Toronto, and Berlin. Since 2019, she has served as director of FOFA Gallery at Concordia University in Montreal. She joins the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on April 12.

“Eunice Bélidor has distinguished herself as a curator and a thought leader in her field, and I could not be happier to welcome her to the curatorial team of the MMFA,” Chief Curator Mary-Dailey Desmarais said in a statement.

“Her experience coupled with her interest in stimulating dialogue and in focusing on themes and discourses that are too often marginalized make her a tremendous asset for the MMFA. Her work will enrich our understanding of Quebec and Canadian art, and we are eager to discover the programming she will develop.”

“[Eunice Bélidor’s] experience coupled with her interest in stimulating dialogue and in focusing on themes and discourses that are too often marginalized make her a tremendous asset for the MMFA.”
— Chief Curator Mary-Dailey Desmarais

Bélidor joins MMFA from FOFA Gallery, a unique space at her alma mater where she served as director. The gallery showcases the work of Concordia alumni, faculty and staff through exhibitions, publications, and public programming and also supports student work related to faculty research and teaching.

Previously, Bélidor served as programming coordinator at Articule, an artist-run space in Montreal (2014-2019). She has also held positions at Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery and BAND Gallery (Black Artists’ Networks In Dialogue), both in Toronto.

Bélidor received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Concordia University in Montreal, and earned a graduate diploma in curatorial studies and a master’s degree in art history and visual culture from York University in Toronto.

Championing artists from diverse backgrounds, Bélidor’s curatorial interests include letter writing, Haitian art, post-Black studies, feminism, fashion, design and architecture.

“My independent curatorial practice asks a lot of questions,” she told the Gazette. “I like looking at what is happening in society, and asking questions around that about how we live, (such as) different relationships within the context of the pandemic, or what it is to be an environmental activist.”

“My independent curatorial practice asks a lot of questions. I like looking at what is happening in society, and asking questions around that about how we live,…” — Eunice Bélidor

Bélidor’s exhibitions and projects have included “IGNITION 16” (2020), an online exhibition organized with Michèle Tériault at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery at Concordia University; “Over My Black Body” (2019), co-curated with Anaïs Castro at the Galerie de l’UQAM at the University of Quebec in Montreal (and first presented in Berlin with Spike Art Quarterly); and “Future Memories” (2016) and “Code: Body” (2018), both presented at Articule as part of Montreal’s HTMlles Festival, which is dedicated to media arts and digital culture produced by women, trans, and gender non-conforming artists.

A recipient of the Hnatsyshyn Foundation’s 2018 Emerging Curator Award, Bélidor’s writings and essays have appeared in various publications, including Espace Art Actuel, Hyperallergic, Canadian Art, Inuit Art Quarterly, and Journal of Curatorial Studies.

An active member of the Canadian arts community, Bélidor is a member of the President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism at Concordia University and the acquisition committees of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec (actual and contemporary art) and MMFA (International Art After 1900). Previously, she served on the the Visual Arts Evaluation Committee of the Montreal Arts Council (2015-18).

“I’m delighted to be joining the Museum, a great institution of my native city of Montreal. This opportunity will allow me to pursue my work of supporting artists and promoting Quebec and Canadian contemporary art in Montreal, Canada and abroad,” Bélidor said in a statement.

“Becoming a curator at the MMFA marks an important step in my career, and I’m eager to dive into this new role. I have already been met with open arms by Mary-Dailey Desmarais and the entire Museum team, who share my sensibilities.” CT

 

FIND MORE about Eunice Bélidoron her website

 

FIND MORE Recent exhibitions at MMFA focused on Black artists include “Manuel Mathieu: Survivance” (2020-21) and “Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art” (2018)

 

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