Barry Pot­tle

Inuit Art Quarterly - - COL­LECT­ING GUIDE -

It is very ex­cit­ing to work with an artist who con­tin­u­ally strives to take his work to a new level. Barry Pot­tle is just such an artist. Orig­i­nally from Rigo­let, Nu­natsi­avut, NL, and now liv­ing in Ottawa, Barry has worked for years with the Indige­nous arts com­mu­nity in the South. Al­ways in­ter­ested in photograph­y, he has spent many years in his adopted city cap­tur­ing images that re­flect the cul­ture, ac­tiv­i­ties, concerns and life of the largest ur­ban pop­u­la­tion of Inuit out­side the North. Barry, who be­lieves that the con­cept of Ur­ban Inuit is for the most part un­ex­plored, cap­tures the unique­ness of this com­mu­nity through the cam­era lens. Barry has now moved be­yond pho­to­jour­nal­ism to ex­plore con­cep­tual photograph­y in his search to re­flect con­tem­po­rary Inuit issues and re­al­ity. This is ev­i­dent in his Aware­ness Se­ries (2009–16), cur­rently on ex­hibit at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. This pho­to­graphic suite con­sists of 19 haunt­ing images re­count­ing the RCMP’s con­tact with Inuit. The images mag­nify the Eskimo Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Tag, de­vel­oped for cen­sus pur­poses by the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment be­gin­ning in the 1940s. Through this work, Barry sheds light on the liv­ing his­tory of col­o­niza­tion, bridg­ing the gap be­tween the disc num­ber (tag) and the peo­ple. With this new, tighter fo­cus on sin­gu­lar as­pects of the ur­ban Inuit com­mu­nity, I greatly look for­ward to the next body of work in which the rich­ness and beauty of Barry’s images will re­flect his pro­found and sen­si­tive in­sight.

Barry Pot­tle Still Life (Inuit) 2009 Digital pho­to­graph COURTESY THE ARTIST

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