Tisamat Inuusiliit sauniganut tisisimajut ammalu Nutaaq Ukiuqtaqtumi Atuqtauliqtut
Una sanaguaqti takutitijunaqtuq immakalaknit kisuruqpalianiginik ujarasukjuknit Inuit sanaguaqtiginut ublumi. Malik&ugu immakalaknit qanuiliganigit, imminut ammalu sanaqataqtaminut, Anghik Ruben isumagitiaqsimajanga nalunangituq pijaqnilaungituq ammalu anginiqpaamik kiinaujaliurutaujunaqtuq maana ammalu sivuniksatini inuuniaqtunut.
I was born in November 1951, in the Western Arctic near the settlement of Paulatuk in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT. My family was nomadic, as were most families at the time. Even though Christianity had been introduced early on, most Inuit still carried on the traditions and cultural practices of our ancestors. We saw ourselves as part of the land and its daily rhythms, and we paid close attention to our physical, cultural and spiritual needs with the understanding that harmony and balance in all things were integral to our survival. Days, weeks, months and years were spent in pursuit of game, shelter and fire. Our entertainment and education came from the oral tradition, told to us by our parents and elders. Their hands gave us an awareness of the fragile nature of our survival. We understood the cycles of life from the migration of birds and animals on the land. This early phase of my life gave me the foundation that I would need for my physical, cultural and spiritual survival. In 1959, at the age of seven, I was sent to a residential school in Inuvik, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT, until 1970, along with other children from across the Arctic. The years were, at best, a dark smudge in my life. It was my dark night of the soul. I was physically, mentally and psychologically abused. I became an alcoholic at the age of 16, until I gained sobriety at the age of 36. It took many years, and the love and patience of my wife and family, to heal the damage that had been done. I was just one of many. My artistic career began in 1971 as a student of Ronald Senungetuk, an artist and resident teacher at the Native Art Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For the next four years, my training consisted of sculpture, graphics, jewellery and the study of Inuit art history from the early books of art historian George Swinton to those by archaeologist and anthropologist William Fitzhugh. Ron encouraged me to mix traditional materials and techniques with contemporary design to create new dynamic works. After leaving Alaska in 1975, I travelled to Vancouver, BC, and began work for Mr. Lin Kye Lee, a successful businessman and prospector, who gave me an early introduction to stone quarrying and prospecting. For almost three decades, I assisted Mr. Lee in mining and quarrying for steatite and maintaining his claims, while developing my artistic
Pinguarusiqtut ammalu iliniarutiqaqtut uqa us ii naq mi gut,uq au tij au sim avu gut ataatakutinit anaanakutinit ammalu inatuqaqnit. Akgangit tunisisimavut qai jim aju ti ks a ni ks ur ak sara itu ku luu ni ga nut nunavut inuunasuaq&uni.
Inuunikuuvunga November 1951-mi, ukiuqtaqtumi Inuvialuit nunagani nunalik Paulatuuq (Paulatuk). Ilakka itaqnitammariulauqtut, taapkutitut tamaqmik ilagiit taipsumani. Tuksiaqataqniq ukpiqniq ovatinut qaujimajauliqtitaugaluaqmat, tamaqmipaluk Inuit inuusituqaqmiknik atulauqtut taapkutitunaq ilagilauqsimajattitut immakallak. Ovattinnik takuvaktugut ilagijaunitinik nunamut ammalu qautamaat taimanatsianaq, ammalu ovattinik timitinnik aulutsitiaqtugut, piusituqattinnik ammalu taqnitigu pijumajattinik tukisiumalugit tamakkua naliqariitiaqtut ammalu qanuinngitiaqtut sunatuinnaqnik ilainarimagi inuujutiginasuaqtapta. Ubluit, pinasuarusit, taqqiit ammalu ukiut atuqtut qiniq&utik pinguarutiksamiknik, ikluksamiknik, ikumaksamiknik. Pinguarusiqtut ammalu iliniarutiqaqtut uqausiinaqmigut, uqautijausimavugut ataatakutinit anaanakutinit ammalu inatuqaqnit. Akgangit tunisisimavut qaijimajutiksanik suraksaraitukuluuniganut nunavut inuunasuaq&uni. Tukisijugut igiravalianiga inuusiq tuquvaliajut inuuvaliajut ilitivigijavut tikipaktut tingmiat ammalu niqjutit nunatini. Tmanna pigialisaaqniq inuusiqmik tunisisimajuq tungaviksanik pitaqariaqaqtuq napaniarama, pisituqaqqaqvigilugu ammalu taqnikut inuujunaqvigillugu. Taikani 1959, ukiuqaq&unga 7-nik, ovanga, taapkualu asikka nutaqqat nakituinnaq ukiuqtaqtumit, aullaqtitausimavugut iliniariatitauluta Inuuvik-mut, Inuvialuit (Inuvik, NWT), kisiani 1970-mi. Taipsumani, angilaamik, taaqniqaqtuq inuusinut. Taipsumani “taaqtuq ubnuatitut taqnira”. Timiga, isumaga ammalu isumajusita sukutaulauqtuq. Angajaaqatalauqtunga pigiaq&unga 16-nik ukiuqqaq&unga, angajaaqataruniilauqtunga ukiuqaluq&unga 36-nik. Akunialuk ukiunik, ammalu nakligigakku ammalu utaqitialauqtuq nuliara ammalu ilakka, maminasuktilnga amisualuknik suraisimagama. Ovanik suratinira taapnatuunani. Sanaguaqatalilauqtunga pigiaq&unga 1971-mi iliniaqti&uniga Ronald Senungetuk, sanaguaqti ammalu nunattini ilisasimajuq Native Art Center-mi taikani Iliniaqvikjuaq Alaska Fairbanks. Tisamanut ukiunut, iliniaq&unga sanaguaqniqmik, qarisaujakkut titiqtugaq&unga, ujamiliuq&unga ammalu iliniaq&unga Inuit sanaguarusiginik ittaqnitanik taapkunangat uqalimaaganit ittaqnitalirijinit George Swinton ammalu Inuusituqalirijiujuq William Fitzhugh. Ron ajaulauqsimajaanga tiliuq&uniga katiqulunigit ittaqnitait ammalu maanalisait sanasimajut nutauniaqmat sanajjusiq. Qimalauqtara Alaska 1975-mi, Vancouver, BC-mut, ammalu iqanaijaluq&unga Mr. Lin Kye Lee, kiinaujaliutsiaqtumik sakminiqutiqalauqtuq ammalu ujaraqniaqtiuluni taapsuma qaujititariulaqutaanga ujaqanik sanaguaraksaqtaaqviksanik ammalu ujarakniaqnikmik. Immaqa 30-nut ukiunut, ikajulauqtara Mr. Lee ijaraksiuqtuq ammalu sanaguaraksaqtaaqvilirijuq ammalu nunataarisimaniqminik pisimainalauqtuq, atautikulu pivaliatitiluni sanaguaqniqmik. Inuujuniilauqaarani 2004-mi, Mr. Lee tunilauqtaaga ovannut ujaraniarunautiganik nunaqutaanik taikani Fraser Valley. Taikani 2014, sanaqatigijakka ovangalu nanisilauqtugut uujaunaqmik aligiijaqmik uqausiriqatalauqsimajanganik, kissiani nanisijumalaurama ovannik nakminiq. Nanilauqtara, ikpigilauqtara Mr. Lee quviasugajalauqtuq.
The early efforts by Inuit at these new arts initiatives took time and patience, but their commitment paid off with the explosion of dynamic works in stone and bone and on paper. —
endeavors. Prior to his passing in 2004, Mr. Lee gifted me the mining claims in the Fraser Valley. In 2014, my crew and I found the source of jade that he had spoken about, but felt I should find on my own. I found it. I feel that Mr. Lee would be pleased. Over the past forty years, I have sought to build on the training that I received from my mentor and friend Ron, and I have had the benefit of meeting and working with artists and craftspeople across Canada and internationally. These exchanges have led me to view the world from a multifaceted perspective. Similarly, the tumultuous changes and unpredictable climate shifts that are taking place across the Arctic continue to affect my worldview and professional endeavors, particularly my artistic research into the connection between my ancestors and the Norse Vikings of a thousand years ago. Significant environmental change was the principle cause that led these two diverse Arctic peoples to Greenland around this time. As an artist I have attempted to bring this story to life, to mold skin and bones into a new narrative and this search into a long-vanished Arctic world, brings into focus the world we now live in. I understand what took place in the distant past as coming full circle and call these untold stories the “inevitable consequences of contact”. I have always been in awe of the thousand years of artistic talent and inspiration that has come hand in hand with the development of Inuit culture from the Bering Sea and beyond. As has been documented by Swinton and others, in Canada’s Arctic an artistic naissance took place throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It is this phase that was one of my early influences as an artist. I wanted to be able to create works of this power and dynamism. Today, I can look back and I see the legacy of this artistic blossoming and the many problems and challenges that artists are facing today as a result. As the Arctic underwent a period of significant uncertainty, starting in the early 1950s, the federal government began its arts and crafts initiatives to provide means of employment to Inuit communities. Individuals like James Houston, Terry Ryan and Gabriel Gély travelled to far-flung camps to see if the ancient hunting skills of Inuit could be harnessed to local materials, including bone, steatite and ivory. To their delight, Inuit were naturals at manipulating local materials because of their skills at creating beautiful everyday objects and crafting elaborate hunting tools and implements. The early efforts by Inuit at these new arts initiatives took time and patience, but their commitment paid off with the explosion of dynamic works in stone and bone and on paper that made household names of many early artists from numerous Arctic communities. The participants of these first forays into the new economic initiative required minimal formal instruction and the themes they were asked to portray, including wildlife, hunting and domestic scenes and the spirit world, were subjects of which they had an intimate knowledge. The men and women of this generation had a close understanding of the land; most were nomadic, following the ancient paths of their ancestors. They lived and breathed in the light of myths, stories and legend and held true to the knowledge handed down from generations. They created magnificent works of art, and their distinct artistic expression became an easily identifiable image of Canada on the world stage. Artists of the second generation, active between the 1960s and 1980s, followed in the footsteps of their parents. Many moved from far-flung camps to start new lives in the small towns and hamlets
Taimanganit 40 ukiut, qiniqtunga sanajummalunga tamatumiga ilinialauqtangit ilisaijigilauqtaqnit ammalu piqanarilauqtannit Ron, ammalu ikajuutilauqtuq katilauqsimajakka ammalu sanaqatigilugit sanaguaqtit ammalu sanatiakammarialuit nakituinnaq Kanatamit ammalu silaqjuaqmit. Ukua nunagingitatinut pulaaqatigiiqataqniq takutitisimajuq ovannik nunaqjuavut ajjigiingituutauniganik. Taimannattauq, nalunaqpak&utik asitjiqtut ammalu niriunangitut silaup uquunigata sagusimaliqniga saasimaliqtavut atuliqtavut nanituinnaq ukiuqtaqtumi kajusiyuq aktuilluni ovanga taupturijannik ammalu qaujimajuqjuaguniqmut piliriniaqtapnut, piluaqtumik qaujinasuktapnut sanaguaqnqmik qanuq katinnganiga avataanit ovanga ilagilauqtapnut ammalu Qalunaat Vickings-nut tausanut ukiunut. Angijumik avativut asitjiqtuq taimanauniganut taapkuat maqqruuk ajigiingitut ukiuqtaqtumi inuit Akukittuq maanauliqtuq. Sanaguaqtiulluga unikadqtausimajunik kisuruqtitinaksukpaktunga saqititinasuk&uga, oviniktaaqtip&ugu ammalu sauniqaliqtip&ugu nutaapmik tukiqaliq&uni ammalu una qiniqniq akuniujumikasiuqayuq Akiuqtaqtup nunaqjuanganit, taapnauliq&uni takvani nunaqjuami nunagiliqtaptini. Tukisijunga qanuq pivalauqmangaata immakkaniq ovattigut utiqtuq ammalu taisuurijavut uqausiulauqsimanginiginik “taimanaujariaqalauramik upaktausimaliqtipluta.” Kamanaqtuq tausanut ukiunut sanakammarialuit ammalu ajuruniirutigisimajangit taapkunangat atautikut pivaliatitaulutik Inuit piusituqangit tapkangat Ualiniup Tariunga[Bering Sea] ammalu asianit. Titiraqsimajangit unikaarilugit Swinton ammalu asiginit, Kanataup ukiuqtaqtunga pijumayauniqpaulauqsimajuq sanaguqataliq&utik taimanganit 1950-ni ammalu 1960-ni. Una suraaniga taimannailigalilauqnigat taipsumanilu sanaguaqatarumalilauqsimajunga. Sanaqatarumalauqtunga tamatumminga sangiyuujumik ammalu pijunaqtaarilauqtara. Ublumi, iqaumalugu taipsumaniulauqtuq ammalu manumit tikisimaliqtuq taimanganit sanaguarunaqtut pivaaliqsimaliqtut piruqsimaliqtut ammalu amisut iluangijutut ammalu aksuruqnaktukkuuqtut taapkua sanaguaqtit atuqtagit ublumi taimanauniganut. Taimalu ukiuqtaqtuq atuqsilaukaktilugu angijunik nalujamiknik qaujimanangitunik, pigiaq&utik 1950 pigialiqtilugu, Kavamatuqaqkut pigiaqtitilauqtut sanaguaqtuliriniqmik ammalu miqsugaliriniqmik iqanaijaqtitilutik Inuit nunaginut. Inutuinait tamakkua James Houston, Terry Ryan ammalu Gabriel Gély qangatavakput nunaliralaanut takujumalutik angunasugusituqait Inuknit atuqtaulutik nunaliknit sanajaulutik, tamakualu sauniit, sanaguaraksait, ammalu kigutiit tugaat. Pijumajanginik, Inuit sanajunatsiakautigilutik ammalu sanalugit nunamiknigaaqtut aaqiksilutik piujumarialuknik ammalu sanaguaqsimatiaqtummarialuknik taapkuatiagulugit sanarititit ammalu ilangit. Pinasuqatalisaaq&utik Inuknit taapkuniga nutaanik sanaguaqataliq&utik akuniuvak&utik ammalu utaqitiariaqaq&utik, kisiani angiqsimanitik atuqniqalilauqtuq amisualuuliq&utik sanajausimajut sanaguaraksat, sauniit ammalu paippaat taapkualu angiragini atigit atuqtaujut maana sanaguaqniqmik pigiaqtitilausimajut immakanniq nakituinnaq Ukiuqtaqtuq nunaginit. Ukua ilangit taapkunani sivuliulauqtut kiinaujaliurutaulutik, mikijumik ajurisuutijautuinaq&utik ammalu tukiginik taapkua saqitiqujaujut, ilagijaulutik niqjutiit, asivaqsimaniqmik ammalu nunamikni takuqataqtamiknik ammalu taqniqmut pisimajut, ukua pilirijatik qanutuinnaq qaujimagamijjuk. Taapkua angutit ammalu
springing up across Canada’s Arctic. This generation was one step removed from the land; however, they were still tied spiritually and culturally to the land. They understood the calling of the spirits of their ancestors and the spirit realm. This generation had exposure to both worlds, with secure incomes, the ability to hunt and fish as they chose and access to the goods and amenities provided by the communities they lived in. This generation also received the benefits of new materials, art supplies, government-sponsored shipping, marketing and sales ventures that expanded the whole industry into international markets. Building on the works of their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, they introduced a dynamic range of artworks. The third generation of Inuit artists, whose main artistic formation and output was from the 1990s to 2010s, is made up of those individuals who by and large live in established Arctic communities. Some have chosen to live in the South, closer to materials, markets and the broader world. Many are finding their artistic expression in a variety of media and through exposure to the artistic forms and styles of their contemporaries. In the North, they are weekend hunters and fisherman. Whole families gather to renew old friendships, sharing in the rich harvest of the land, the retelling of stories and passing on ancient knowledge to future generations. Three times removed from the world of their predecessors, with no visible direct links to their ancestral ways, this generation of artists has the difficult task of creating works of art comparable to the dynamism, power and caliber of that of their parents and grandparents. Many feel they must create images of aqnait maanauliqtuq tukisiumatsiaqtut nunamik; tamaqmipaluk inulariunikuungmatta, maliktut immakalaknit aqusianginik ilagilauqtangita. Inuusirijangit ammalu aniqsaaqtuqtangit unikaaqtuat, unit, ammalu inuusivinigit ammalu tigumiaqtautsiaqtut qaujimajaujut qaujimajauliqtitauvaktut inuuvalianaiqtunut. Aaqiksiqataqtut piujumarialuknik sananguaq&utik, ammalu ajiungitunik sanajusiqaqtut nalunakitiaq&utik nakingaaqnikuunmagaata Kanatami nunaqjuamut. Sanaguaqtiulunga piqatigiliqtaani inuusiqaliqtuni, nuqangajunalauqnagalu 1960-nit ammalu 1980-nit, malik&utit ataatakumiknik anaanakumiknik. Amisut nuusimalutik nunaliralaanit inuusiqtaaq&utik nunaqatigiini ammalu Hamlet-ni utiqtaq&utik namutuinnaq Kanataup ukiuqtaqtunganut. Ukua maana inuuliqtut qamugutiaqjuksimajut nunavut; taimanaugaluaqtilugu, katingatsiaqtut taqnimigut ammalu piusituqaqmigut nunamut. Tukisijut qaiqujariaqaqpakkatigut taqnigit ilagilauqtapta ammalu taqnitigut. Ukua maana inuuliqtut takutitauvut atuqtitauvut maqgruuknik inuusirijaujunik nunaqjuami, kiinaujaliutsiaq&utik, angunasugunaq&utik asivarunaq&utik ammalu iqalugasugunaq&utik aturumajamigut ammalu pijunatsiaq&utik piqutinik ammalu kisuginik nunaliit tunisimajanginik nunagijamikni. Ukua maana inuuliqtut pititauvakmijut ikajuusiaksanik nutaanik, sanaguarutiksanik, kavamakutnit akiliqtauvaktut qangatautigit, niurusiriniq ammalu niuviqtautitiqataqniq angilititijuq tamatumiga kiinaujaliurutaujumik tamatummunga nunaqjuami silaqjuami niuviqtauvaliq&utik. Aaqikpaliaginaq&ugu ataatakumi anaanakumi sanasimajanigit ammalu attakunginit, akkakunginit ammalu attatatsiakunginit anaanatsiakunginit ittukunginit, pigiaqtitisimajut qanuritutuinaqnik sanasimajamiknik. Taapkua pingajugijaujut inuuliqtut Inuit sanaguaqtit, ukualu sanatiaqniqsauqataluaqtut ammalu aaqitiaqsimalutik taikanganit 1990 tiki&ugu 2010, taapkua Inuit nunaqaqtut ukiuqtaqtuq nunagini. Ilangit nunaqarumasimajut Qalunaaq nunagani, qanitniqsauniaramik sanaguagaksamiknik, niuvaqpaktuniklu ammalu nunaqjuangat anginiqsaunmat. Nanisimajavut amisuit sanajunaqsiqataqtut kisutuinaqnik ammalu tamauna saqijuaarunaqtut sanatiaqsimajut ammalu aaqiksimajusiriqataqtangit. Ukiuqtaqtumi pinasuarusiup nunguani asivaqsimavaktut ammalu iqalugasugiaqpaktut. Ilagiilimat katingavaktut nutaanguriaqti&ugu piqanariniqtik, atuq&ugu angunasukviqatiaqtuq nunangat, unikaarikanniq&ugit ammalu tunilugit ittaqnisait qaujimajaujutuqait siviniksatini inuuniaqtunut. Pingasuiq&utik nunajuaqmiknit piiqtausimajut maliktiginiaqtamiknit inagiqtiksamiknit, tauttuqaqtitaugatik qanuq katinganiqmiknut sivulirilauqtamiknut, maana inuuliqtut sanaguaqtiit pijaqnigitumik tijaksaqaqtut sanalutik sanaguaqsimajunik qanuutiginiganik ajiungituuniq,sanajunnaqtut ammalu ajungitiaqtut taapkutitut ataatakumititut anaanakumititut ammalu ataatatsiakumititut anaanatsiakumititut. Amisut ikpigusuktut sanajariaqaqmagaat tingmiaguanik, niqjutinguanik ammalu taqniguanik qaujimangitiaraluarutit aaqigasuktamiknik. Ukua sanaguanik niuviqpaktut
Pinasuqatalisaaq&utik Inuknit taapkuniga nutaanik sanaguaqataliq&utik akuniuvak&utik ammalu utaqitiariaqaq&utik, kisiani angiqsimanitik atuqniqalilauqtuq amisualuuliq&utik sanajausimajut sanaguaraksat, sauniit ammalu paippaat.
The accelerated pace of change in the North brings with it great challenges. Those most at risk are the children who must bear the brunt of the shifting climate; this is their future. —
birds, animals and spirits without the intimate firsthand experience of their subject matter. The art dealers and market make unreasonable demands on these artists to create great works without the knowledge of the past, which in turn hinders them from breaking away from these long-established practices and entrenched marketing models. We come now to the fourth generation of Inuit artists working today, a group that is some 50 years or more removed from their grandparents, who first saw the flowering of a new dynamic art form. This present generation must find artistic expression amidst the constant noise and electronic drabble of their daily lives. With the added weight of substance, sexual and physical abuse, suicide and cultural disconnect, an artist living in the North today must be thickskinned, innovative and resilient to make a go of it. Most are faced with uncertain futures and many choose to take on stable jobs, rather than invest in a creative pursuit with no guarantee. Most troubling, however, is the lack of training or skills to become exemplary. Many of these young artists live in cultural and spiritual limbo, without an intimate understanding of the land and its creatures or the mythology of the shamanic world. The past is distant and removed, the present is demanding and offers little in providing answers and viable future pathways for an artist to pursue productive and inspiring lives aren’t always direct. The co-ops and other institutions provide some answers and leadership in this area, but their efforts sometimes fall short of what is needed to ensure the survival of arts in the North. Over and above the daily concerns of today’s artist is the issue of a changing Arctic climate and the dramatic effects it is having on local communities. The accelerated pace of change in the North brings with it great challenges. Those most at risk are the children who must bear the brunt of the shifting climate; this is their future. As an artist and an Inuvialuit entrepreneur, I am making plans for the establishment of an Arctic Children’s Fund that will attempt to tackle the issues facing our children today. We must find solutions to the far-reaching effects of alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide and food insecurity by focusing on education and the preservation of culture through language and the arts. I believe we must take action now as we face a multitude of problems with limited resources. Artists, in particular, must see and respond to this new Arctic reality, perhaps by choosing to become social and cultural activists using their changing environment as themes in their work. For those who follow this path, I can offer a viable solution to ensure the survival of Inuit cultural, spiritual and material traditions through artistic expression. This solution is one that was offered to me as a young man under Ron’s tutelage and requires that art centres be set up in Nunavut and elsewhere in the North to provide artists with opportunities for multidisciplinary programs with a focus on formal training in the contemporary arts. The disciplines would include sculpture, painting, drawing, graphics, fine crafts and an emphasis on traditional and contemporary design. Such spaces could partner with existing institutions in the North to allow artists the choice of where to study as currently most are forced to travel south for this level of comprehensive training. Crucial to the success of this approach is the marrying of technical training with a much deeper aesthetic rooted in our cultural and spiritual past. I believe immersing the prospective artist in classical training will enable the individual to develop skills and new ways of viewing their cultural, material and spiritual traditions. Providing young artists with a range of tools will prepare them to greet expanding markets as the Northwest Passage welcomes increasing numbers of visitors. With this grounding, artists will find new forms of expressions in an ever-changing Arctic world. In many ways it feels like a new beginning, so let’s see what we can do.
Abraham Anghik Ruben — ABOVE & LEFT Freya 2016 Brazilian steatite 98 × 61 × 23 cm — QULAANI AMMALU SAUMIANI Freya 2016 Ukkusiksaq aqittuq 98 × 61 × 23 cm
Abraham Anghik Ruben — Passage of Spirits 2011 Whalebone, Brazilian steatite and BC cedar 56.5 × 96 × 32 cm — Inuujuniiqsimajut Taqnigit 2011 Aqviup saunia, Ukusiksaq aqittuq, ammalu British Columbia napaaqtuq 56.5 × 96 × 32 cm