Among All These Tundras
Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
This fall, Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Amy Prouty and Charissa von Harringa convene 11 contemporary Indigenous ar tists, working across the circumpolar North, who explore themes of land, language, sovereignty and food security. Shared histories of colonialism unite the artists and their works to poetically address ongoing issues surrounding climate change, traditional knowledge and industry. As a primer, the curators share three highlights from this much-anticipated exhibition:
In Qamutiik (2014), as in much of Couzyn van Heuvelen’s work, there is a strong focus on materiality. By applying new fabrication techniques and materials to a timeless Inuit object, the tense in-between spaces of past and present are revealed. Here, a wooden pallet and a qamutiik (seld)—both objects used to transport food and other goods over great distances—appear as if interrupted during an act of transformation. The synthesis is an uneasy one; instead of enhancing the form’s functionality, the blending of technologies has rendered both objects obsolete.
– Amy Prouty Old Films of the New Tale (2016) by Kalaallit visual artist Inuuteq Storch presents rare colour archival film footage digitally overlaid with his own music, sounds and voice recordings. Scenes of Greenlandic life— hunting and living on the land—are materialized through vibrant imagery: a seal hunt, women in kamiik and nuilarmiut, Greenlandic children at school absorbed in reading, roses in splendid pinks and more. The discordant sounds of screechy violins, rueful rappings and utterances in Kalaallisut eulogize the past yet give voice to the land as an omnipresent witness and benefactor of memory itself.
– Charissa von Harringa Taqralik Partridge shares a sneak peek of her work-in-progress Tusarsauvungaa? (2018), the series of sewn and beaded mixed-media pieces she will contribute to Among All These Tundras. In this work, Partridge isolates the front panels of an amauti (woman’s parka)—worn at the chest or over the womb and usually adorned in colourful, elaborate beadwork— in order to draw attention to their beauty and significance to Inuit women. Partridge draws on a seamstress’ cache of fabric, skin and trim as well as a variety of other materials, including lures and coins; we imagine how the materials will catch the light, or even how they might chime and jingle as the wearer walks. Perhaps this is to what the title [ Can you hear me?] alludes. – Heather Igloliorte
Couzyn van Heuvelen (b. 1987 Bowmanville) —ABOVE Qamutiik 2014Found pallets243.8 × 91.4 × 19 cm
Inuuteq Storch (b. 1989 Sisimiut/ Copenhagen) —CENTREOld Films of the New Tale (still) 2016Two-channel video 16 min 10 sec
Taqralik Partridge (Kuujjuaq/ Kautokeino) —BELOW Tusarsauvungaa? 2018Mixed-media installation Dimensions variable