JEN­NIE WIL­LIAMS

Canadian Art - - Generously Supported By Rbc -

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

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