Jade Na­so­galuak Car­pen­ter

The Yel­lowknife-born, Ed­mon­ton-raised artist un­flinch­ingly re­flects the angst and anx­i­ety of many of her gen­er­a­tion.

Inuit Art Quarterly - - CONTENTS - by Britt Gallpen

Jade Na­so­galuak Car­pen­ter has a wry sense of hu­mour. Work­ing across me­dia, in­clud­ing in­stal­la­tion, print, draw­ing, film and sculp­ture, the artist uti­lizes her art “as a cop­ing mech­a­nism to sub­tly ad­dress di­as­pora, and to openly ad­dress men­tal ill­ness.” The re­sult is a prac­tice sea­soned with the macabre, made palat­able by the sweet­ness of its de­liv­ery. The Yel­lowknife-born, Ed­mon­ton-raised artist un­flinch­ingly re­flects the angst and anx­i­ety of many of her gen­er­a­tion. It’s vis­i­ble in works such as She Was Ok (2016), a print de­pict­ing a tomb­stone en­graved with the am­biva­lent plat­i­tude, or the sprawl­ing in­stal­la­tion Life Is Okay Some­times (2014), com­prised of un­ti­tled doo­dles fea­tur­ing line-drawn bod­ies act­ing out phrases like “Fuck It” and “Pity Party”, or sob­bing, crawl­ing or plead­ing above oth­ers, in­clud­ing “It’s hard to make art when you feel empty in­side.” Fol­low­ing a diploma in Fine Art from Grant MacEwan Univer­sity, Na­so­galuak Car­pen­ter went on to re­ceive her bach­e­lor in Fine Arts from the Al­berta Col­lege of Art and De­sign in 2016. Now cur­rently based in Banff, AB, where she is un­der­tak­ing an Indige­nous Cu­ra­to­rial Re­search Practicum with the Wal­ter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Cen­tre for Arts and Cre­ativ­ity, she re­mains an ac­tively en­gaged mem­ber of Cal­gary’s con­tem­po­rary art scene as an artist, cu­ra­tor and ad­min­is­tra­tor. She is a mem­ber of the cu­ra­to­rial col­lec­tive Oci­ci­wan Con­tem­po­rary Art Col­lec­tive as well as a board mem­ber for Stride Gallery, one of the city’s most es­tab­lished artist-run cen­tres. Be­yond the prov­ince, Na­so­galuak Car­pen­ter is the Inu­vialuit Youth Rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Win­nipeg Art Gallery’s Indige­nous Ad­vi­sory Cir­cle and has been se­lected as one of 50 Indige­nous women artists who will par­take in cu­ra­tor Lee-Ann Martin’s ex­pan­sive Canada-wide bill­board project, slated for the sum­mer of 2018. Most re­cently, how­ever, the artist turned her sights to a more diminu­tive project, cre­at­ing a suite of stone carv­ings–her first– for the 2017 edi­tion of the Sled Is­land Mu­sic & Arts Fes­ti­val. The pieces in­clude a lighter and cig­a­rettes, as well as a lip­stick tube, tam­pon and diva cup and re­ceived an over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive re­cep­tion, de­spite some gen­er­a­tional con­fu­sion. “A lot of the younger crew iden­ti­fied the diva cup right off the bat,” ex­plains the artist. “While a num­ber of older peo­ple were like, ‘I don’t know what that lit­tle cup is.’ I think it re­ally sub­verted what peo­ple might have been ex­pect­ing to see from Inuit carv­ing.” It is this clever and deeply per­sonal ap­proach that sit­u­ates Na­so­galuak Car­pen­ter within a ro­bust lin­eage of Inuit artists who have thought­fully and truth­fully de­picted their lives through au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal works, in­clud­ing Ja­masee Pit­se­o­lak, Ju­tai Toonoo (1959–2015) and Oviloo Tun­nil­lie, RCA (1949–2014).

PHOTOS COUR­TESY THE ARTIST

Jade Na­so­galuak Car­pen­ter (b. 1993 Ed­mon­ton/Cal­gary) — Un­ti­tled (Self Por­trait as a Ghost) 2016 Silkscreen print 38.1 × 27.9 cm

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