Inuit Art Quarterly
A sneak peek at some current and upcoming exhibitions and projects.
Sobey Art Award Exhibition Art Gallery of Alberta EDMONTON, AB
Created by the Sobey Art Foundation in 2002, the annual Sobey Ar t Award recognizes pre-eminent Canadian contemporary ar tists under 40, awarding $240,000 in prizes to the longlisted and shortlisted artists. This year, the exhibition of the shortlisted artists is being held at the Ar t Gallery of Alber ta in Edmonton. The exhibition opened October 5 and features works by Stephanie Comilang, Nicolas Grenier, Anne Low, D’Arcy Wilson and Kablusiak, each presenting stand-alone showings of their work within the larger scope of the exhibition. Curator Lindsey Sharman noted that, despite the loose affiliation between the work in this group exhibition, explorations of personal narrative and materiality have taken centre stage among this year’s finalists: “There’s definitely this theme of looking at their own individual identity, often times within a settler-colonial context.” We spoke to Kablusiak about what it means to be one of the youngest, and the first Inuvialuk ar tist, to be nominated for the prestigious award and about their work included in the exhibition:
It’s such an honour to be included. I still don’t know how to process it, because I want to say that I might be the youngest. I’m among the youngest anyway: when the shortlist was announced publicly, I had just turned twenty-six. I don’t mean to be cocky about it, and I think it’s really amazing to have that recognition, both from my community and beyond; especially in the category of “Prairies and North.” I think it’s hilarious, too, because I was born in the North and grew up in the Prairies. It just seems fitting.
I’ve made new works for the show. New carvings, a new photo series as well as some other works such as the Inuvik Ghost (2018). I also made take-away posters and there is a large wall vinyl. It’s quite a lot, but I think it came together really well.
The new photo series is a slide projection with photos reminiscent of the
Untitled Ghost series—but not quite. My friend and colleague—and wonderful person— Nicole Kelly Westmen has been helping me. We went out into the bush of Alberta and took these beautiful scenic photos of iconic Alberta landscapes. In the photos I’m wearing my parka, the parka cover my mom made, as well as a lingerie as I’m staring into the camera. The starting place for that project was inspired by those ethnographic photos from the fifties and sixties where researchers went to northern communities, snapping pics of people doing their daily life (which I am sure still happens to this day). So I’m thinking through this new work and how it relates to autonomy, and using that as a theme to tie all the works together.