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Keynote Speakers

 
   
  Natalie Bondil portrait  

Nathalie Bondil

Nathalie Bondil is the Director General and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Appointed Chief Curator in 2000 and Director General in January 2007, she has initiated innovative programming with exhibitions designed, produced and circulated by the MMFA that have distinguished the Museum on the international scene.

With the addition of a fourth pavilion to the Museum complex in 2011, Ms. Bondil and her team undertook the study, restoration and reinstallation of some 4,000 works from the Museum’s encyclopedic collection, from world cultures to Old Masters and Canadian and contemporary art. In 2016, the Museum expanded again with a fifth addition, the Pavilion for Peace dedicated to international art and education.

A dual citizen of Canada and France, Ms. Bondil is an art historian by training. She graduated from the École du Louvre and the Institut national du patrimoine, Paris. She has curated many of the exhibitions presented by the Museum, including Metamorphoses: In Rodin’s Studio; Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: From Spain to Morocco, Benjamin-Constant in His Time; ¡Cuba! Art and History from 1868 to Today; Van Dongen; Painting the Town Fauve; Catherine the Great: Art for Empire; Voyage into Myth: Gauguin to Matisse; the French Avant-Garde from the State Hermitage Museum; Maurice Denis: Earthly Paradise; Picasso Érotique; Hitchcock and Art: Fatal Coincidences.

Nathalie Bondil was elected Personality of the Year in Culture by La Presse (2017), awarded the Médaille de l’assemblée nationale, Québec (2016) as well as being appointed Member of the Order of Canada, receiving the Prix Camille-Laurin (Office Québécois de la langue française) and an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal (2015).

Ms. Bondil is Vice-Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts and Vice-president of the Société des célébrations du 375 e anniversaire de Montréal.

 
 
 
   
  Natasha Kanapé Fontaine portrait  

Natasha Kanapé Fontaine

Born in 1991 in Baie-Comeau, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine comes from the Innu reserve of Pessamit on the north side of the St. Lawrence river. Now residing in Montreal, Fontaine is a poet, actress, visual artist and an Indigenous rights and environmental activist. She first became known in 2012 as a slam poetry performer from Rimouski to Montreal. Since then, she has published four books of poetry with publishing house Mémoire d’encrier entitled: Do Not Enter My Soul in Your Shoes (2012),  Assi Manifesto (2014),  Blueberries and Apricots (2016), and Nanimissuat / Île Tonnerre (2018). She also co-wrote Kuei, My Friend: A Conversation on Racism (Écosociété, 2016) with Deni Ellis Béchard. Most of her work has been translated into English.

Proud Innu and inspired by the pan-Canadian Indigenous movement, Idle No More, she disseminates her messages of dialogue, of reconciliation, of healing and communication between people throughout Quebec, Canada and the world. Her artistic and literary approach goes beyond skin deep bringing together people with contrasting values and arguments and scratches at the imperfections in thought and consciousness. With her poetry she undertakes the process of healing the environment and fights against racism, discrimination as well as colonial mentalities.