Untitled (Many rocks but little bread)
Understanding an artist’s intent can be difficult, with the visual cues on offer going a long way in deciphering meaning. In this photograph from the early 1970s, Tucktoo captures a small group seated on a rocky outcrop near Talurjuaq (Taloyoak), NU.
Just above them, painted in bold white letters on the uneven surface, are the words “Many rocks but little bread by C.F. ” There indeed appears to be no bread but many rocks, making the script easily interpreted as deeply political and reflective of a time of immense social upheaval. However, when asked, Tucktoo laughed, offering an altogether different reading: “My siblings, every now and then we go camping… when we have no place to pitch our tent: many rocks but little bread.” Although text in art can offer a tantalizingly clear answer, it all too often spurs a false start down the wrong path.
Selena Tucktoo (b. 1949 Talurjuaq) —Untitled (Many rocks but little bread) 1973Gelatin silver print 17.3 × 17.5 cm