Supporting Artistic Expression and Voice
Tarralik Duffy is an artist, designer, jeweller and writer from Salliq
(Coral Harbour), NU, currently based in Saskatoon, SK. Her Feature story “Uvanga/Self: Picturing Our Identity” on Inuit self-portraiture appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly and she is currently the cover artist for our Winter 2018 issue. Here, Duffy discusses what it means to work with the Inuit
Art Foundation as a featured writer and the significance of being a featured artist: In writing for the Inuit Art Quarterly, it was important for me to do justice to the art and the artists. I was terrified because as much as I admire the artists and their work, I felt I lacked the knowledge I needed in order to write the way I wanted to write. But working with the IAQ team—their willingness to share their incredible knowledge, access to information and gracious approach—totally dispelled my fears. It was such a gift to pick up the phone and have conversations about the people and the art that I absolutely adore.
I love Inuit ar t and Inuit more than anything. This whole process of working with the IAF is the best thing I could have been given because it gave me the opportunity to learn more. Being able to access works of art that I hadn’t seen before was like being given keys to the most magical world—a world that I want to be in, one filled with art history, Inuit history, mythology, legends and humour. It’s this whole beautiful Inuit world that I cannot get enough of.
Finding out my work would be not only featured in the magazine, but also on the cover filled me with a combination of maniacal glee and crippling anxiety. I still feel like I’m not at the level of the artists I admire most, so I keep feeling like I’m going to jinx it or the rug will be pulled out from underneath me. I’ve worked on a few versions of the wordplay between E.T. and itii pau, and I always felt a bit ridiculous putting so much time into it, but it still makes me chuckle. It’s our recess humour immortalized. It’s a bit taboo; it’s pop culture. I might get some letters. I might get in trouble with my mom. It’s perfect. Being on the cover is a boost of confidence—it’s like being injected with go-power. Do the thing! Draw! Write! Follow the idea, no matter how seemingly absurd or impossible. – Tarralik Duffy