Word from the Director

Hello out there ! Greetings from the Artexte library !

On behalf of everyone here, I wish you good health and the stamina to find what brings you happiness and fulfillment during these times. 

Back in the days when we could be in the same room, we had been thinking about planning a 40th birthday celebration for Artexte in 2021. That won’t happen this year.  But what I can do,   is to thank you – artists, researchers, educators, students, writers and donors –  for making Artexte what it is today: an art library built through the care and generosity of a community. 

Cue an image of a crowd of people blowing out 40 candles. Like we used to, in the old days. 

I also want to thank you for understanding that a library’s life changes but doesn’t stop. You have continued to send publications, documents for your artist files and use e-artexte for research, study and inspiration. You have helped us keep going through 2020 and into 2021. 

Now, I want to take a moment to bring attention to two artists whose work may offer you some sustenance during this time. 

First, Anna Banana. In summer 2020, we shared an interview with her conducted by Artexte librarian Jessica Hébert, which you can read excerpts of and listen to here. I share Anna’s work with you today because of her monumental contribution to creating community and mail art networks. Her dedication to the social function of art and its capacity to find the fun in difficult times can be invigorating and useful at this time. Her influence on relational practices and print culture has yet to be recognized within Canadian art history and juried prizes to the extent it deserves, but the impact of her work within communities of artists around the world cannot be ignored.  This is where the slow time of the library, it’s long life and persistence can possibly be of solace. The Artexte collection continues to preserve and share Anna Banana’s work. Her compendious artist file is here to be reckoned with when it’s time for the telling. 

Second,  daphne  Tiohtià:ke (Montreal)  and Quebec’s first Indigenous-run art centre, named after Odawa-Potawatomi artist Daphne Odjig. Artexte looks forward to working with the daphne co-founders and artists to ensure that we document thoroughly the activities of this new site for Indigenous practices and knowledge. Celebrating the opening of this new space is also an opportunity to honour the work of Daphne Odjig, an artist who has influenced generations of painters and printers and who built community and opportunity for Indigenous art and artists through the creation of the New Warehouse Gallery in Winnipeg: the first Indigenous-owned gallery in Canada and the first to exclusively represent Indigenous artists. Daphne Odjig’s artist file at Artexte comprises documents from her early exhibitions in Northern Ontario and Manitoba and our collection holds a number of catalogues, representative of the vitality and breadth of her practice. I invite you to learn more about this artist who created space for Indigenous artists then, now and onwards. 

Thank you, we look forward to welcoming you here again


Sarah Watson