Group Ef­fort: Col­lab­o­ra­tive Works

Inuit Art Quarterly - - CONTENTS -

This Portfolio brings to­gether a unique col­lec­tion of five col­lab­o­ra­tive projects pro­duced by Inuit and non-Inuit teams com­prised of both es­tab­lished and emerg­ing artists. In­clud­ing per­for­mance, sculp­ture, ceramic, draw­ing and print­mak­ing, these works il­lus­trate the man­i­fold ways artists come to­gether.

In the fol­low­ing Portfolio, the IAQ brings to­gether 16 di­verse artists gath­ered from Tuk­toy­ak­tuk, NT, to North West River, NL, work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively across five unique projects. Rang­ing from an ex­per­i­men­tal per­for­mance that weaves to­gether throat singing with ad­vanced soft­ware and the dy­namic, multi-au­thored ceram­ics from the Match­box Gallery stu­dios in Kangiqliniq (Rankin In­let), NU, to lay­ered draw­ings com­pleted in Vic­to­ria, BC, the re­sults of these group ef­forts are far more than the sum of their parts. Taken as a whole, the works fea­tured on the fol­low­ing pages pro­vide a brief sam­pling of the many ways in which con­tem­po­rary Inuit and non-Inuit artists, across Inuit Nu­nan­gat and beyond, come to­gether.

Com­pleted at the Match­box Gallery in Kangiqliniq (Rankin In­let), NU, a stu­dio known for its multi-au­thored and hand-built ceramic pieces, En­chanted Bear (2013) does not shy away from its col­lab­o­ra­tive na­ture. Re­lief images of hu­man fig­ures, hands and faces, cre­ated though what artist Leo Na­payok de­scribes as “draw­ing-carv­ing” fill the mus­cu­la­ture of Jack Nu­viyak’s (1971–2016) base an­i­mal. A large loon rests on the bear’s neck as its sprawl­ing wings form a pro­nounced shoul­der blade.

The crea­ture ap­pears care­fully po­si­tioned by John Kurok, known for his lay­ered and in­ter­wo­ven avian forms. Fi­nally, Roger Ak­sad­juak’s hand is re­flected in the group of parka-clad men that emerge from the crea­ture’s back— their shift­ing tonal surfaces pro­duced from the stu­dio’s smoke-fir­ing tech­nique. Each el­e­ment is unique and bears the par­tic­u­lar qual­i­ties of its maker. When read as a whole these nar­ra­tives seem to slip to­gether, with mul­ti­ple voices and many hands con­tribut­ing to a sin­gu­lar story that is en­velop­ing and re­veal­ing with each new look.

Space is lim­ited for col­lec­tive art­mak­ing across the North, par­tic­u­larly in Nu­navik. Over two years work­ing in the liv­ing room of Ivu­jivik- and Mon­treal-based artist and print­maker Lyne Bastien, Mary Paninga­jak, Qu­maq Mangiuk Iyaituk and Passa Mangiuk, all from Ivu­jivik, QC, de­vel­oped a se­ries of linocuts that formed the ba­sis of the four col­lab­o­ra­tive 28-panel prints, ex­hib­ited in the fall of 2018 as part of Con­ver­gence North/South at Fe­he­ley Fine Arts in Toronto, ON. “I make art to show how we sur­vived on our land and how we used land in any way,” Iyaituk ex­plains. “To pass on my lan­guage and cul­ture is the most im­por­tant thing to me.” Paninga­jak’s images of Arc­tic flora mix with Iyaituk’s de­pic­tions of time-hon­oured cloth­ing— amau­tiit (women’s parkas), kamiik (boots) and mit­tens—along­side Mangiuk’s rep­re­sen­ta­tions of seal­skin stretch­ing and an un­aaq (har­poon) and Bastien’s ab­stracted forms to cel­e­brate, pre­serve and re­lay tra­di­tional Inuit knowl­edge.

Is­sues of per­spec­tive, iso­la­tion and space were at the heart of the re­cent per­for­mance KATIMAJUIT, in­cluded as part of the 2018 Sum­merWorks Lab ex­per­i­men­tal pro­gram­ming and pre­sented at their Per­for­mance Fes­ti­val in Toronto, ON. Across four days of re­hearsals, the throat singing duo The Sila Singers—North West River-born Jenna Broom­field and Iqaluit-born Malaya Bishop— worked with mul­ti­me­dia artist and di­rec­tor Maziar Ghaderi, along with a score pro­duced by Toronto-based Ciara Adams and Ali Jafri of SAINTFIELD in a se­ries of iso­lated prac­tices and col­lab­o­ra­tive en­gage­ments. This di­verse ex­change, ini­ti­ated by Ghaderi, ap­plied Sa­har Ho­mami’s vo­cal vi­su­al­iza­tion soft­ware to Broom­field and Bishop’s vo­cals to pro­duce real-time images that trans­formed their sonic land­scape into a tan­gi­ble en­vi­ron­ment and com­pli­mented their per­for­mance built on tra­di­tional Inuit games. Ac­cord­ing to Broom­field, “we drew on our own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences to shift the nar­ra­tive of throat singing away from be­ing an­i­mal­is­tic to some­thing that could ac­tu­ally be chal­lenged as dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments.”

On a Novem­ber af­ter­noon in 2012, hav­ing never met be­fore, Kin­ngait (Cape Dorset), NU, graphic artist Qavavau Man­u­mie and Vic­to­ria-based il­lus­tra­tor Luke Ram­sey sat in Madrona Gallery in Vic­to­ria, BC, trad­ing sheets of pa­per at ap­prox­i­mately half-hour in­ter­vals. “There was this un­spo­ken com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween them,” re­calls Di­rec­tor Michael War­ren, who first con­nected the pair. “You could see as the process evolved over the day, they be­gan to an­tic­i­pate each other’s lan­guage a bit more. You see these as­pects of each artist’s voice come to the fore­front in dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of each work.” The re­sult is four unique ink-on-pa­per works that com­bine Man­u­mie’s dis­tinct avian crea­tures and ges­tu­ral forms with Ram­sey’s graphic mark mak­ing. In one draw­ing, styl­ized wings spread­ing from an egg-like form con­tained within a di­lap­i­dated boat are dis­tinctly Ram­sey’s, while the beak of Man­u­mie’s bird, its bil­low­ing teardrop wings con­tain­ing smaller smil­ing droplets, ap­pears to pull the ves­sel, and the col­lab­o­ra­tion, for­ward.

Bill Na­so­galuak is no stranger to joint ef­forts: a tal­ented carver, ed­u­ca­tor and trained elec­tron­ics tech­ni­cian, Na­so­galuak was a con­tribut­ing artist and team leader for the deeply sym­bolic 1999 North­west Ter­ri­to­ries par­lia­men­tary mace. To­gether, Na­so­galuak’s team of sculp­tors, Allyson Sim­mie and Dol­phus Cadieux, deftly cap­tured the cul­tural rich­ness and di­ver­sity of the newly es­tab­lished ter­ri­tory. Six pan­els, carved from mar­ble har­vested from the Pre­cam­brian Shield near Yel­lowknife, NT, com­pose the head of the mace, which con­tains de­pic­tions of the Inu­vialuit, Dene, Métis and set­tler cul­tures as well as the land, wa­ters and an­i­mals that com­prise the ter­ri­tory. At the foot, a styl­ized nar­whal tusk hon­ours the pre­vi­ous mace while sup­port­ing a con­tin­u­ous land­scape that tran­si­tions from moun­tains and foothills, to the delta and tun­dra, and back again as the mace spins. Within, the team in­cluded peb­bles from the re­gion’s 33 com­mu­ni­ties—an au­di­ble re­minder of the larger pop­u­la­tion the ob­ject rep­re­sents—and rests on a cus­tom mar­ble base that is none-the-less as sym­bolic as the mace it­self. The re­sult­ing piece, and the col­lab­o­ra­tion, ap­pear in­cap­su­lated by the apt in­scrip­tion, writ­ten in ten dif­fer­ent lan­guages, on the band that di­vides the mar­ble pan­els from the mace’s snowflake-crowned head: “One land, many voices.”

Roger Ak­sad­juak (b. 1972 Win­nipeg) John Kurok (b. 1977 Kangiqliniq) Leo Na­payok (b. 1961 Kangiqliniq) Jack Nu­viyak(1971–2016 Kangiqliniq) — En­chanted Bear2013Smoke-fired porce­lain 61 × 33 × 33 cm COUR­TESY MATCH­BOX GALLERY

Passa Mangiuk (b. 1955 Ivu­jivik) — Con­ver­gence North/South2018 Linocut99 × 26 cm COUR­TESY FE­HE­LEY FINE ARTS

Qavavau Man­u­mie (b. 1958 Kin­ngait) Luke Ram­sey — Boat and Bird2012Ink45.7 × 61 cm COUR­TESY MADRONA GALLERY

Bill Na­so­galuak(b. 1953 Tuk­toy­ak­tuk) Dol­phus Cadieux Allyson Sim­mie Par­lia­men­tary Mace of the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries 1999Mixed me­dia 150 cm COUR­TESY LEG­ISLA­TIVE AS­SEM­BLY OF THE NORTH­WEST TER­RI­TO­RIES

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