First Black curator at MMFA, Eunice Belidor, expected she'd 'need to go to the States' for career

Published April 21, 2021 7:27 p.m. ET

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MONTREAL -- Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts has its first-ever full-time curator who is Black: 34-year-old Eunice Bélidor, whose appointment was announced earlier this month.

She will curate Quebec and Canadian contemporary art at the venerated museum, which was founded 161 years ago. In several recent years it has won the title of most-visited museum in Canada.

But for a long time, Bélidor believed she'd never have a job like this in Canada, she told CTV.

"I thought I would need to go to the States to have that type of career," she said.

It was only moving to Toronto in 2012, and finding a mentor there -- curator and fellow onetime Quebecer Gaëtane Verna -- that changed her mind and "made me understand that it was possible to have that type of position in Quebec," she said.

Following a path into art always meant going with her gut and against advice, Bélidor said.

"I always knew I wanted to do something creative," she said. As a child, she was interested in fashion.

But she was advised against anything in the field and ended up in a social science program. It was only when taking a single elective class about art that she swiftly decided it was where she belonged.

"I decided to go all out and focus on art history," she said.

In a statement announcing her hiring earlier this month, the museum said it considers her a leader in her field.

"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," said Mary-Dailey Desmarais, the museum's chief curator.

Watch Bélidor's full interview in the video above.


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