Community, and portraits of an isolated but happy North, are key to the work of Inuk artist Jennie Williams. Originally from Happy Valley-goose Bay, and now living in Nain, Williams uses photography to document community traditions and the everyday life of Labrador Inuit living in the area. In her ongoing documentary series Nalujuk Night (2011–), Williams archives years of her community celebrating the Moravian/inuit tradition of Nalujuk Night, or Old Christmas Day. Nalujuk Night takes place annually on January 6, when the Nalujuit come out to playfully terrorize and taunt the community. The Nalujuit are boogeyman-type figures used to teach lessons to Inuit children in Northern Labrador. On Old Christmas Day, anonymous individuals dress as Nalujuit in tattered atigik (parkas) with masks, and chase after the gathered community. Williams’s images of Nalujuk Night capture a unique experience of Labrador life. As in many of her other photographic works, Williams—who was recently in residence at the Rooms in St. John’s—aims to celebrate the strong connections built within her isolated northern community through play, tradition and gathering. Her photographs, she says, start a conversation about the lived realities of Northern Labrador communities and create space for the sharing of stories and traditional knowledge.
Jennie Williams Nalujuk Night in Nain 2016 Digital photograph Dimensions variable