Updates and highlights from the world of Inuit art and culture
NFB Indigenous Collection Goes Digital
On March 22, 2018, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) premiered its Indigenous Cinema webpage, which houses more than 200 films by Indigenous directors. Films by First Nations, Métis and Inuit directors from across Canada, in English and in French, can be found on the page, which was created to make it easier for the public to access Indigenous perspectives of Canada’s past, present and future.
Bonnie Ammaaq, an Inuk director from Iglulik, NU, is one of 19 Inuit directors currently featured on the website. Her short film Nowhere Land (2015), which tells the story of her family’s life on the land and their return to Iglulik, won the award for Best Short Documentary at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
Eventually, the NFB’s entire collection of nearly 300 films will be available for free on the website.
New Start for Ulukhaktok Graphic Program
Arctic Co-operatives Limited and Canadian Arctic Producers will be spearheading an effort to revitalize graphic artmaking in Ulukhaktok (Holman), Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT, almost two decades after the community’s last formal print release. A total of $250,000 was secured from the Canada Council for the Arts to engage established and emerging artists, including Mary Okheena, Peter Palvik and Mabel Nigiyok, to experiment with materials and styles with help from an advisory committee composed of the Inuit Art Foundation’s Board Members Heather Igloliorte and Patricia Feheley and Executive Director Alysa Procida. The grant is also supporting the digitization of the community’s graphic archive, stretching back to the earliest graphic experiments of Agnes Nanogak Goose, Helen Kalvak, CM, RCA and Mark Emerak. To learn more about this unique archive, be sure to see a profile written by Arctic Co-op’s Collections Manager Katheryn Wabegijig in the IAQ’s next issue.
NGC Announces Curators for 58th Venice Biennale
Following the news that Isuma will represent Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) has confirmed that, for the first time in the pavilion’s history, the project will be curated by a team. The curatorial team includes Asinnajaq, a visual ar tist, filmmaker and curator; Catherine Crowston, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of Alberta; Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada; Barbara Fischer, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and Director of the University of Toronto Art Centre; and Candice Hopkins, an independent curator and writer.
The Canadian exhibition at the Biennale has historically been organized by a single curator, but collaboration seems to be a defining theme for this highly anticipated show. “Because [Isuma is] a collective, I think it’s more natural for them to think of working with a collective,” said Asinnajaq. “I think everyone’s really proud of [the team] and everyone is attentive to each other.”
The curatorial team was handpicked by Isuma. According to Hopkins, “[Isuma] also felt it was important to have mentorship built into the team, so, in effect, we are learning from one another as well as from Isuma.” Both Asinnajaq and Hopkins have curated projects with Isuma, while DrouinBrisebois and Fischer have both previously curated Biennale exhibitions for the Canada Pavilion. Crowston was the 2016 Commissioner for the Canada Pavilion at Venice’s International Architecture Exhibition. “Inuit art has long impacted a huge global audience,” explains Hopkins, when asked about Inuit ar t on the world stage. “[This exhibition] will loop back to that history, but also to people’s real lives in the North. And that is really something that is a shared goal between Isuma and the curatorial team for the pavilion.”
Inuit Artists at the Indigenous Music Awards
The 2018 CBC Music Indigenous Music Awards were held on May 18, 2018, honouring some of the best First Nations, Métis and Inuit musicians in Canada today.
Several Inuit artists were nominated for awards. Iqaluit-based band The Trade-Offs were nominated for Best Blues Album for Qaumariaq and Kelly Fraser’s album
Sedna was nominated for Best Pop Album. Fraser was recently featured in the IAQ’s
30th Anniversary issue Portfolio, “30 Artists to Know.” Shelter as we go. . . by Quantum Tangle, a duo that includes Inuk artist Tiffany Ayalik, was nominated for Best Pop Album. And Northern Haze, a rock band from Iglulik, NU, was nominated for Best Inuit, Indigenous Language or Francophone Album, for Sinnaktuq. Northern Haze’s first, self-titled album, released in 1985, was the first Indigenous-language rock album recorded in North America.
Early Prints from Puvirnituq Donated to Agnes Etherington Art Centre
In March 2018, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, received a collection of 23 stonecut and stencil prints from Puvirnituq, Nunavik, QC, as a gift from Margaret McGowan. The prints represent the early years of printmaking in the community, from 1961 to 1989, and depict animals and hunting scenes and scenes of daily life. McGowan and her husband also set up a Research Studentship in Indigenous Art, with a focus on Inuit art.
Dr. Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art at the centre, said, “This donation will help us present a more comprehensive and comparative history of Arctic printmaking, and through the research studentship will also help attract Indigenous students and support a diverse array of graduate and upper-year undergraduate research.”
UMMA Receives Inuit Art Collection and Generous Endowment
In March 2018, the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) in Ann Arbor, received $2 million from community members Philip and Kathy Power for the creation and endowment of an Inuit art program at the university. This contribution was given in addition to a large collection of Inuit stone sculptures and prints, numbering more than 200 and valued at more than $2.5 million.
“Kathy and I decided to gift [this collection] to UMMA so as many people as possible could experience it, and understand how Inuit understand and cope with their harsh Arctic environment,” said Power.
Revitalized AGO Centre Features Indigenous Art
On June 1, 2018, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) re-opened the J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art (previously the J.S. McLean Centre for Canadian Art) after months of renovation. The centre now features historic and contemporary works by Indigenous and Canadian artists side by side. “The McLean Centre revitalization will enable the AGO to showcase contemporary Indigenous art in conversation with Canadian art and to highlight critical discussions about identity, the environment, history and sovereignty,” said Wanda Nanibush,
Curator, Indigenous Art in the Department of Indigenous and Canadian Art.
The centre’s Inuit collection will show works by renowned and emerging artists alike, such as Shuvinai Ashoona, RCA, Jessie Oonark, OC, RCA and Annie Pootoogook. Inuit art and sculpture will also occupy its own, dedicated space in the centre, and works will feature texts written in Inuktut, English and French.
First Indigenous Fashion Week
Between May 31 and June 3, 2018, the first Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) took place, presenting progressive Indigenous artists in a series of showcases, lectures, exhibitions, panels and workshops, along with a marketplace where artists could sell their work.
“Our community is bursting at the seams with new works in fashion, craft and textiles, and we are proud to be recognizing their artistry,” said Sage Paul, Artistic Director of IFWTO. “This year’s program of artists and designers represents the diversity of design, expression and tradition from nations across North America and Greenland.”
Victoria Kakuktinniq of Victoria’s Arctic Fashion, Barbara Akoak of Inuk Barbie, Erica Lugt and Hinaani Design were among the Inuit designers represented in the showcase.
Tanya Lukin Linklater Wins First Wanda Koop Research Fund
On March 20, 2018, Canadian Art announced artist Tanya Lukin Linklater as the winner of the magazine’s inaugural Wanda Koop Research Fund, valued at $15,000. The award recognizes a mid-career visual artist and is intended for research activities related to the artist’s practice. Lukin Linklater was chosen for her “complex, engaging, multidimensional and inspiring” work, according to Julie Nagam, Chair in the History of Indigenous Art in North America at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the University of Winnipeg, and one of the judges.
Lukin Linklater is a multidisciplinary artist, working in performance, video, installation and photography. She was featured in the IAQ’s Summer 2016 issue, Per formance, and contributed a Comment in the Summer 2017 issue. Her work has been featured in exhibitions in North America and abroad.
BELOW The recently constructed Kenojuak Cultural Centre in Kinngait, NU, 2018 PHOTO KUDLIK CONSTRUCTION OPPOSITE Juanisialu Irqumia (1912–1977 Puvirnituq) Owl with Its Prey 1960 Stonecut 39.8 x 62.1 cm PHOTO BERNARD CLARK