Inuit Art Quarterly - Film: Moving Images

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Manasiah Akpaliapik Owl (2019)

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Inuit Art Quarterly Film



04 Contributors 05 From the Editor 06 Message from the Board 07 Impact Update 5 WORKS

12 Into the Light HIGHLIGHTS

14 A sneak peek at Isuma’s installation

in Venice and their collateral projects CHOICE

18 Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers by Tanya Lukin Linklater CHOICE

20 Alethea Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril by Stacey Aglok



Circumpolar Cinema: 10 Filmmakers to Watch The IAQ brings together a unique survey of the many voices shaping film in the circumpolar Arctic today. From Sámi experimental pieces to Alaskan documentaries and retellings of traditional stories from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, this Profile provides some insight into the North through the work of the filmmakers defining it. by Napatsi Folger, Emily Henderson and Evan Pavka

40 From an Inuk Point of View: Behind the Camera with Isuma

48 Between Making and Telling: The Experimental Films of Lindsay McIntyre On the occasion of Isuma’s representation at the Venice Biennale, a curator and writer meditates on the collective’s 30-plus-year history through the lens of a trip to Iglulik, NU, in the early 1990s to view the making of the film Saputi (Fish Traps), offering another look at the significance and impact of the work of Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn on community, culture and language across Inuit Nunangat and beyond.

Vancouver-based Lindsay McIntyre is one of only a handful of artists working with handmade emulsion for her 16 mm celluloid analogue films. Together, these poetic, performative and exploratory works trace the contours of documentary, handcrafted and narrative techniques to explore the materiality of film.

by Taqralik Partridge

by Sarah Milroy


Page 64 Kananginak Pootoogook’s portraits ON THE COVER

Lindsay McIntyre (b. 1975 Vancouver) — all-around junior male 2012 Video 7 min COURTESY THE ARTIST

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


“I found the greatness of video is that there is so much else to take in. I can question and imagine the filmmaker’s decision-making. What is happening behind the camera?” JESSICA KOTIERK PAGE 82




Akornatsinniittut – Tarratta Nunaanni (Among Us – In the Land of Our Shadows) Marc Fussing Rosbach

by Jocelyn Piirainen REVIEW

92 Tia and Piujuq Lucy Tulugarjuk by Priscilla Naunġaġiaq Hensley LAST LOOK

94 Tanya Tagaq

56 Vantage Point: Indigenous Art on a Global Stage

Exhibiting in Venice, Italy, as part of the Venice Biennale and surrounding events throughout the city, can play a critical role in shaping careers and catapulting nationally acclaimed artists to international recognition. By engaging with the experiences of past Indigenous representatives, what could showing at the Canada Pavilion mean for Isuma and Inuit artists more broadly?

by Heather Igloliorte

64 Late Works, New Visions: Picturing Kananginak Pootoogook

In the last few years of his life, Pootoogook created a host of community and self-portraits that depict life caught between tradition and modernity. These images continue to resonate both nationally and internationally, and have lead to the late artist’s work being celebrated far beyond his home in Kinngait, NU. Here, these vivid depictions are revisited to address the continuities and shifts in his practice.

70 Remembering Our Ways: Film and Culture in Iglulik

In the early 1990s, alongside Isuma, the women’s filmmaking collective Arnait Video Productions was established and has since gone on to produce numerous films, television series and more. In this Feature, the larger impact of filmmaking on the communtiy of Iglulik is explored from the persepctive of those at the fore of this revitalization.


Page 40 Isuma’s flashbacks and flashforwards BELOW

Page 26 An exclusive spotlight on circumpolar film

by Blandina Attaarjuaq Makkik

LEGACY 82 Fast Runners and Time Travellers: Visiting the Isuma Archive

A writer has seemingly limitless and ever-changing questions after a visit to the archive of Igloolik Isuma Productions. Dating back to the late 1980s and acquired in 2011 by the National Gallery of Canada, the footage within offers an important record of community life as well as a brief chance to time travel.

by Jessica Kotierk

by Robert Kardosh Film








The Inuit Art Quarterly is published by the Inuit Art Foundation.

Executive Director and Publisher Alysa Procida

President Mathew Nuqingaq Iqaluit, NU

Editorial Director Britt Gallpen

Vice President Heather Igloliorte Montreal, QC

Established in 1987, the Inuit Art Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides support to Canada’s Inuit arts communities and is the sole national body mandated to promote Inuit artists and art within Canada and internationally. This magazine relies on donations made to the Inuit Art Foundation, a registered charitable organization in Canada (BN #121033724RR0001) and the United States (#980140282). The Inuit Art Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through contributions from the Reconciliation Secretariat at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Creates. Subscriptions Canada: $33/yr. Excludes GST/HST. US: $44/yr. Elsewhere: $48/yr. GST/HST #121033724RT0001. The Inuit Art Quarterly is a member of Magazines Canada. Publication date of this issue: June 15, 2019 ISSN 0831-6708 Publication Mail Agreement #40050252 Postmaster send address changes to Inuit Art Foundation. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Inuit Art Foundation 1655 Dupont Street Toronto, ON, M6P 3T1 (647) 498-7717 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. THE INUIT ART QUARTERLY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR UNSOLICITED MATERIAL. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THE INUIT ART QUARTERLY ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE INUIT ART FOUNDATION. PRINTED IN CANADA. DISTRIBUTED BY MAGAZINES CANADA. FROM TIME TO TIME WE MAKE OUR SUBSCRIBERS’ NAMES AVAILABLE TO COMPANIES WHOSE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES WE FEEL MAY BE OF INTEREST TO YOU. TO BE EXCLUDED FROM THESE MAILINGS, PLEASE SEND YOUR REQUEST, ALONG WITH A COPY OF YOUR SUBSCRIPTION MAILING LABEL, TO THE ADDRESS ABOVE.

Editor-at-Large Taqralik Partridge Senior Editor John Geoghegan Managing Editor Evan Pavka Profiles Editor Ashley McLellan Contributing Editor Napatsi Folger Contributing Editor Emily Henderson Copy Editor Simone Wharton Advertising Manager Nicholas Wattson Design Emily Tu Colour Gas Company Printing Interprovincial Group

Secretary-Treasurer Erica Lugt Inuvik, NT Past President Sammy Kudluk Kuujjuaq, QC

Heather Igloliorte Dr. Heather Igloliorte, an Inuk from Nunatsiavut, is an Associate Professor who holds the University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement at Concordia University in Montreal, QC. Igloliorte has been an independent curator of Inuit and other Indigenous arts for 13 years. She is the Principle Investigator of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/ Pijariuqsarniq Project. PAGE 56

Jamie Cameron Toronto, ON

Robert Kardosh

Patricia Feheley Toronto, ON

Robert Kardosh is Director of the Marion Scott Gallery in Vancouver, BC, where, since 1990, he has curated solo and group exhibitions of work by Inuit artists from the classic and contemporary periods. He has written various catalogues as well as articles on numerous artists and is currently working on a book on the late Haida artist Hazel Wilson. PAGE 64

Michael Massie Kippens, NL Ryan Rice Toronto, ON —


Mary Dailey Desmarais Kim Latreille Samia Madwar Sarah Milroy Elizabeth Qulaut

— Igloo Tag Coordinator Blandina Attaarjuaq Makkik Development Manager Christa Ouimet Administrative Assistant Brittany Holliss Archives Coordinator Joanna McMann

Jessica Kotierk Jessica Kotierk is the Manager and Curator of the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit, NU. Born in Ottawa, ON, and raised in Iqaluit, Kotierk has studied both film and museum conservation. Her conservation studies have focused on the preservation and management of Inuit artifacts in collections around the world, including those of the Inuit Art Foundation. PAGE 82

Blandina Attaarjuaq Makkik

Archives Assistant Ashley Cook

Nunavut Community Liaison Jesse Tungilik

Blandina Attaarjuaq Makkik is the Igloo Tag Coordinator for the Inuit Art Foundation and was formerly the Senior Producer for the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation where she developed the award-winning show Takuginai, the first Inuktitut-language children’s program. She has also worked as the Inuit and Native Gallery Director at the Craft Ontario Shop and served as a Land Claims Implementation Advisor for the Government of Nunavut. PAGE 70

Southern Canada East Community Liaison Darcie Bernhardt

Sarah Milroy

Archives Assistant Serena Ypelaar Fellowship Community Resource Liaison Emma Steen Nunatsiavut Community Liaison Holly Anderson

Southern Canada West Community Liaison Alberta Rose Williams

Sarah Milroy is a Toronto-based writer and art critic. She served as Editor and Publisher of Canadian Art magazine from 1991 to 1996, as art critic of The Globe and Mail from 2001 to 2010 and is a regular contributor to Canadian Art, Border Crossings and The Walrus. She is the Chief Curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, ON. PAGE 40

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Four years ago the Inuit Art Quarterly asked: Could the Venice Biennale be a place for Inuit art? At the time, the response from domestic and international curators and artists alike was enthusiastic, if open-ended. In the ensuing years, Inuit art has continued to gain ground and claim inclusion on the international stage.

Turn to page 40 to revisit the collective history of Isuma on the advent of their representation of Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO LEVI UTTAK


Between 2017 and 2018 alone, Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016), Shuvinai Ashoona, RCA and others have featured prominently in major contemporary exhibitions, including Kananginak Pootoogook, RCA (1935–2010), who was the first Inuit artist in history to be featured at the Venice Biennale for the group exhibition Viva Arte Viva (2017), mounted in the city’s historic Arsenale. Still, even now in 2019, it is frustratingly rare for an Inuit artist or collective to be given pride of place in a major solo exhibition outside of Canada. What an immense achievement and marker it is then to be launching this issue to coincide with the opening of the Canada Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale featuring the work of the incomparable artist collective Isuma, who have forever changed the landscape of Inuit film and established a new cannon of moving image–based practice in Canada. Isuma’s films are undeniably their own. They are made and financed on their own terms, realized often in spite of funding short­ falls, challenging environmental conditions and in opposition to an industry that demands widespread marketability. Isuma’s films are and have always been created by and for Inuit. As a result of the collective’s singular and uncompromising vision to celebrate and capture Inuit stories, lived experiences and visions, Isuma has created new spaces for Inuit film to thrive, with dedicated mentorship and collaboration. Because of Isuma, the immense contributions of Inuit filmmakers working throughout Inuit Nunangat have been made more visible. It is through this lens that we bring you the IAQ’s themed issue on Film. Our Feature stories highlight a range of artistic practices rooted in the possibilities


of moving image–based work. Chief Curator of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Sarah Milroy reflects on the legacy of Isuma’s early work, including the deeply collaborative nature of their filmmaking, while Manager and Curator of the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum Jessica Kotierk investigates the expanse of the Isuma archive at the National Gallery of Canada. Blandina Attaarjuaq Makkik, Igloo Tag Coordinator, writes on the impact of film and television within the community of Iglulik, NU, primarily through the activities of the women’s film collective Arnait Video Productions. Editor-at-Large Taqralik Partridge shares the work of Vancouver-based artist Lindsay McIntyre, whose work in 16 mm film and handmade emulsions are perhaps more closely aligned to drawing than filmmaking and an expansive Profile by Managing Editor Evan Pavka, alongside Contributing Editors Napatsi Folger and Emily Henderson, introduces exciting early career film artists working across the circumpolar North and beyond today. Finally, we turn our attention to the place of Inuit and other Indigenous artists on the international stage with features on Kananginak Pootoogook’s late work by Robert Kardosh and a brief history of the presence of international Indigenous artists at the Venice Biennale by Dr. Heather Igloliorte. While it is impossible to fully capture the movement, sound and feeling of film on a page, I hope the artists and works you encounter here will inspire you to seek out, immerse yourself and be transported by their stories. Britt Gallpen Editorial Director



The Inuit Art Foundation is your home for Inuit art


Helen Kalvak (1901–1984 Ulukhaktok) — Dance 1977 Stonecut 50.8 × 76.2 cm COURTESY WADDINGTON’S

We are the only nationally mandated organization dedicated to supporting all Inuit artists working across the North and beyond.



Inuit Art Quarterly

The Inuit Art Foundation is a place for us to be grounded and where we are able to tell stories—stories through the magazine and also stories about artists that show the world the high-caliber contemporary art being made across the North. The IAF strives to bring you this work at the highest quality possible. The Inuit Art Quarterly, and the amazing artworks I saw inside, was my introduction to the IAF. As a young artist, it made me proud that there was such a thing as Inuit art, and that it was included in the IAQ. The IAF has had a busy spring expanding our reach and support of artists throughout Inuit Nunangat and elsewhere. We also take this time to thank departing 6

board member Helen Kaloon for her service and welcome two new members to the IAF Board of Directors, Kippens-based artist Michael Massie, CM and Inuvik-based artist Erica Lugt, now representing all regions of Inuit Nunangat. Sometimes we seem to be so far away, but the support from people everywhere reaches us. It keeps us going. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I cannot thank our supporters enough. Without you, we would not be where we are today. It means so much. Mathew Nuqingaq, CM President, Inuit Art Foundation Summer 2019


Monthly gift supporter Endowment fund supporter Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award supporter

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Our Donors Thank you to the many donors, subscribers, artists and enthusiasts who support us. The Inuit Art Foundation relies on you to provide opportunities for artists to explore new avenues for professional growth, exposure and expression, and is pleased to recognize donors who have contributed between March 2018 and March 2019.

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THANK YOU Paul Mayer Elizabeth McKeown McKinnon Household Valerie Meesschaert-Verheyen Robert Michaud Joanna Mizaga Barbara Myslinski Gary Nelson Susan Newlove Lee and Sharon Oberlander Donna and Hal Olsen Pierre-François Ouellette Carole Ouimet Maria Parsons Doreen Peever Ann Posen Steve Potocny and Anne Milochik Prue Rains, in honour of Marybelle Mitchell Bayard D. Rea Leslie Reid Timothy Reinig Marcia Rioux Mark Rittenhouse Susan Rowley Dana and Noel Rufino, in honour of Christa Hordatt Judith Rycus Joseph Salkowitz, DMD Paul Shackel Mark Shiner Janet Shute Liz Smeloff

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It was love at first sight when I encountered Inuit sculptures 30 years ago. I became a lifelong collector, and I feel strongly about promoting Inuit art as well as artists in whatever way I can. Supporting the Inuit Art Foundation and their work is a very important way to do so.” JORAM PIATIGORSKY

Suzanne O’Hara Oswald Family Louisa Pauyungie Sr Kara Pearce Kate Permut The Pinero Family, in loving memory of Christa Hordatt Pauline Provencher Serge Ricchi Mark Rieger Marilyn Robinson Kerstin Roger Irene Rokaw and John Reese Anita Romaniuk Robert Rosenbaum Lise Rousson-Morneau Allan Sampson Alexa Samuels Evelyn R. Savitzky Iris Schweiger Jeffrey Seidman Linda Simmonds Scenery Slater Muriel Smith Gregory Sonek Charmaine Spencer Ann Sprayregen Rosalind Sweeney-McCabe Gray and Margaret Taylor, in honour of Erik Haites Bertha K. Thompson Kitty Thorne Scott G. Travis Darlene Tymn Anne Van Burek Charles M. Voirin Larysa Voss Lowell Waxman Marshall Webb John Weber Leslie Saxon West Amanda Whitney Michael Wiles Catherine Wolf-Becker, in honour of Erik Haites and seven anonymous donors [1 ]

Bequests Virginia Watt Perpetual Trust


Inuit Art Quarterly



Summer 2019


Your Impact Thank you for supporting the Inuit Art Foundation. Your generous contributions allow both emerging and established artists to share their work while ensuring that Inuit voices are amplified and lead discussions of Inuit art. Below, we hear from those directly impacted by the professional development, exposure and resources your support has provided.

How You Help

Having my work on the cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly has made an important impact with my practice being recognized. The Heard Museum was the first institution to reach out to me after it was published. Since then my work has been acquired by the Indigenous Art Centre and I’ve been contacted to have my work included in exhibitions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Uppsala Museum in Sweden and the National Gallery of Canada. I was also honored to be longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize, as the first Inuit artist in the history of the prize. I’d like to thank you, IAF donors, for your generosity. Your support really helps us Inuit artists continue to create.” MAUREEN GRUBEN

How You Help The Inuit Art Foundation has done a great job of bringing my attention to works and artists that align well with Fazakas Gallery’s programming, and are very compelling. The IAF is an excellent resource— very thoughtful of the artists as well as the work they highlight and promote. This support is very meaningful. It is a real benefit to any collector or gallerist to follow and to utilize the IAF as a resource.” LATIESHA FAZAKAS

How You Help Being Featured in the Inuit Art Quarterly is a dream come true! I have loved the magazine since I was a child. I remember how devastated I was when the IAQ closed, and how excited I was to learn that it had re-opened. Working with the IAQ team was amazing. I felt really supported and the experience was really positive. To any artist who feels like they will never make it, I just want to tell you the IAQ team sees you and the incredible work you’re doing. Keep growing and creating, you’ve got an organization behind you that’s encouraging you to keep dreaming.” JASON SIKOAK





Join Us Help us support artists working across Inuit Nunangat and beyond by donating to the Inuit Art Foundation. Celebrate the art you love, become a part of our community today.

The Inuit Art Foundation — Your Home for Inuit Art Donations are essential to the programs that promote and celebrate Inuit art and artists. As a registered charitable organization in Canada (BN #121033724RR0001) and the United States (#980140282), the Inuit Art Foundation welcomes donations, sponsorships, legacy gifts and in-kind contributions. Please Consider Supporting the Future of Inuit Art:

As summer approaches, we take time to extend our gratitude to our many supporters old and new. Thank you for investing in the work of artists, the future of Inuit art and being part of our community.” SAMMY KUDLUK PAST PRESIDENT, INUIT ART FOUNDATION

To learn more about donating contact us at 647-498-7717 or visit us online at ABOVE

Tony Anguhalluq (b. 1970 Qamani’tuaq) — Colourful Mountain at East Side of the Lake, at Baker Laker 2010 Coloured pencil, oil stick and graphite 63.5 × 90.1 cm COURTESY MARION SCOTT GALLERY

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

Support the Art You Love Be a Part of Our Community Today INUIT ART QUARTERLY IGLOO TAG TRADEMARK INUIT ART QUARTERLY PROFILES AWARDS Your home for Inuit art


Into the Light The IAF staff shine a light on their favourite works that spark, glow and illuminate


Davidialuk Alasua Amittu (1910–1976 Puvirnituq) — Hunter under the Northern Lights c. 1965 Stone 21 × 22.5 × 8.5 cm COURTESY WALKER’S AUCTIONS PHOTO DIETER HESSEL


Davidialuk Alasua Amittu

Hunter under the Northern Lights (c. 1965) 1/

Irene Avaalaaqiaq Tiktaalaaq

Fear of the Dark (2009) Shadows are the spaces light is unable to touch, two-dimensional casts of threedimensional objects. For Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU, artist Irene Avaalaaqiaq Tiktaalaaq, RCA the physical and metaphor­ ical properties of these voids appear to have resonated in the flat planes that structure her prints and drawings. Across a handful of works, she explored the dimensional tensions between light and shadow, object and echo and self and reflection. In Fear of the Dark a planar figure is caught

mid-transformation. Its cobalt shroud and marigold belly are combined in its paired emerald shadow below—seemingly the only darkness on the page. Yet, here, Tiktaalaaq chose to project the cast, giving the shadow a suggestion of dimensionality while the subject remains parallel to the paper’s surface. Perhaps she is inviting us to ask, who is really the figure and who is the shadow? EVAN PAVKA

Managing Editor


Irene Avaalaaqiaq Tiktaalaaq (b. 1941 Qamani’tuaq) — Fear of the Dark 2009 Stonecut and stencil 44.5 × 53.3 cm

When I first saw this work, I had so many questions. How did Davidialuk Alasua Amittu (1910–1976) carve these delicate curls without breaking the stone? How did he take something as elemental as the aqsarniit (northern lights) and make it solid? Did anyone ever try to carve them before him? Did anyone think to try? Amittu is a powerful storyteller, filling his carvings with curious details that propel the narrative forward. This particular work shows a figure, crouching and afraid, under an arbour of magnificent curlicues with an upturned head resting just to his left. His stance and expression and the disembodied head hint at this story, without revealing it fully. Two of his companions have just been decapitated by the aqsarniit, a punishment for whistling outdoors at night. For Amittu, the aqsarniit, though wonderous and beautiful, are not a guiding light but a menacing one. JOHN GEOGHEGAN

Senior Editor


Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019



Mark Igloliorte

Untitled (n.d.) It is continually surprising how the slightest shift in surrounding or form has the ability to offer up an entirely different perspective. How something in darkness, once menacing, is made completely benign in the revelatory light of morning, or, with a step to the left, the full scope of a scene might come into view. For his diptych series, painter Mark Igloliorte turned his eye to the mundane accumulation of his studio materials, swiftly capturing and returning to capture again these familiar objects from slightly different vantages.

The result is a series of twinned images that, perhaps inadvertently, are also imprinted with the passage of time, by the ever-increasing shadows that stretch across their surfaces as well as the ephemeral nature of their supports. Torn from a community telephone book, the pages used by Igloliorte are impossibly thin and, with just the right angle, capture what is hidden beneath. BRITT GALLPEN

Editorial Director


Pudloo Samayualie


Mark Igloliorte (b. 1977 Vancouver/ Corner Brook) — Untitled (from the series Archival Diptych) n.d. Oil COURTESY THE ARTIST


Annie Pitsiulak

Her Lamp Won’t Stay Still (1977) The smallest flame holds many possibilities: a source of energy, heat and light when tended to and contained, but also equally uncontrollable and unpredictable. The qulliq is a crescent shaped oil lamp carved from stone that when lit can provide light and warmth in times of endless cold and

darkness. But what happens if the lamp doesn’t cooperate—if the blubber and cotton won’t entice the flame to grow, or it sits precariously on its base, wobbling about? In the case of Annie Pitsiulak’s Her Lamp Won’t Stay Still, something has brought her qulliq to life, given it legs and the determination to run away. I am left wondering, is the pressure of such an important job too much for this little qulliq? Its mischievous grin says otherwise. As the woman runs after her lamp with her amauti (woman’s parka) whipping behind her, will she ever catch up? Will she soothe it into cooperating? Or will the lamp tire itself out? The possibilities are endless. ASHLEY MCLELLAN

At first, Pudloo Samayualie’s Artist Lamp seems like a misnomer: not only is there no obvious light source of any kind, the work itself appears almost entirely devoid of illumination. The subject’s hand sits on a stark white background and even its skin looks dull and muted, rendered in a bluegrey that looks closer to a corpse than a sought-after, post–spa day glow. The artist has instead offered the viewer a different sort of light. It is a confrontational representation of the way defiance can drive artistic inspiration, one that is at times far less pleasant than sunshine. Here Samayualie has drawn a bold mission statement that seems to say, may the bridges I burn light my way. As the current background for my iPhone, it too lights my way forward. ALYSA PROCIDA

Executive Director and Publisher


Annie Pitsiulak (b. 1950 Panniqtuuq) — Her Lamp Won’t Stay Still 1977 Stencil 27.3 × 47 cm COURTESY GALERIE ELCA LONDON

Profiles Editor Film

Artist Lamp (2018)



Pudloo Samayualie (b. 1977 Kinngait) – Artist Lamp 2018 Coloured pencil 58.4 × 38.1 cm REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS COURTESY FEHELEY FINE ARTS



Isuma in Venice A behind-the-scenes look at the collective’s installation and collateral projects

To see a full list of exhibitions, visit our enhanced calendar online at:

Cast and crew on the set of One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019) COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO LEVI UTTAK

MAY 11–NOVEMBER 24, 2019

Isuma Canada Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition/La Biennale di Venezia VENICE, ITALY

On May 11, 2019, Inuit media art will take a central position on the international stage when Iglulik- and Montreal-based collective Isuma launch their installation at the newly opened Canada Pavilion in Venice, Italy, including their recent feature film One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk. The team reveals their plans to occupy both physical and digital spaces with Indigenouslanguage content: From May to November 2019 at the 58th International Art Exhibition/La Biennale di Venezia, we are showing our newest video work One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk. The film recreates a day and encounter Inuit Art Quarterly

in April 1961, when Inuit life on the land changed forever. Filmed near Kapuivik in North Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island), NU, where the event occurred almost 60 years ago, images and sound of the installation will fill the Canada Pavilion as visitors walk through or stop to watch one of the screens. As artists working in today’s global media environment and in the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages, we present other elements of our exhibition online, accessible on Biennale visitors’ smartphones as well as to Inuit or global viewers anywhere. Silakut Live Inform and Consult is a series of live online webcasts from Iglulik, NU, and the Arctic wilderness, 14

focused on Baffinland Iron Mine’s proposed 2019 expansion and its impact on the nearby Inuit communities of Iglulik and Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), NU. Isuma on iTunes links to One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk as well as other Isuma and Indigenous-language films on iTunes’ global platform in Canada, Italy and thirty other countries worldwide. The films are offered with subtitles in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. Elsewhere, IsumaTV presents the complete archive of Iglulik video production since 1985, over 7,000 Indigenous films and videos in 75 languages, a digital catalogue of the exhibition, including behind-the-scenes photos, both English and Inuktut scripts of One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk and background on Isuma’s collective history using media to strengthen Inuit cultural and human rights in Canada and globally. For the hub of Isuma’s Exhibition in Cyberspace please see – Isuma Artist Collective Summer 2019



Canada Pavilion Cornelia Hahn Oberlander and BBPR VENICE, ITALY

Built between 1954 and 1958 by the Italian architecture studio BBPR, the unique shelllike Canada Pavilion in Venice’s Giardini di Castello radiates around a central tree encased in glass and is set dramatically apart from its neoclassical neighbours, the British and German Pavilions. In 2011 the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ON, took over the management as well as commissioning of the pavilion and began extensive renovations to update the notoriously inhospitable space, which will be unveiled for the first time this year. We hear from architect Alberico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, son of BBPR partner Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, and landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander about their work on restoring the structure.


The recently opened Canada Pavilion in Colin Low’s City out of Time (1959) COURTESY NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA


Noah Piugattuk in Iglulik, NU, 1987


My design principles are very clear. First of all, building and site must achieve a fit. And that comes from proper grading. When I came upon the pavilion in 2016, I found that the grades surrounding the building made access very difficult. Also, it needed to have connecting paths between the British and German Pavilions, so that it was part of an exploration to go from one pavilion to the next. The landscape architect has to think very hard about how people will use the site in the twenty-first century, and how we can create better accessibility to the whole site. – Cornelia Hahn Oberlander I knew a lot about the Canada Pavilion. I’ve watched it develop since my childhood. It’s quite a special building because it takes into account different components. First of all, there is its “anti-monumentality,” which is interesting given it is between two super monumental pavilions. The interior space has this beautiful glass funnel, with the tree in the middle of it. All of the exhibitions have the tree as the protagonist of the space. The basic idea was to conserve as much as possible, in the sense that, for a building of this type—small, but extremely cared for in its conception, in its structure and in the insertion of one material on the other— every detail is fundamental. This building has been restored with great care and you can still see the initial idea, which is the most important thing. – Alberico Barbiano di Belgiojoso


Noah Piugattuk Inuit Art Quarterly 9.1 (Spring 1994) INUITARTFOUNDATION.ORG/IAQ9.1

Noah Piugattuk, a respected elder of Iglulik, NU, is the subject of Isuma’s lastest feature film that will debut at the 58th Venice Biennale. Piugattuk was also the head of the last family asked by the RCMP in the early 1960s to leave their outpost camp and settle permanently in the community, the period in which the flm focusses. Here, we reproduce a section of an interview with Piugattuk from our Spring 1994 issue where he discusses drum dancing: The skill of drum dancing is like the skill of driving a dog team. You must know where to hit, get a good start and keep a good pace. The warm-up may be short or long. Often the singer and the audience take a long time to warm up the drum. But if you don’t have a long song, then you must have a fast start . . . [You need to] get on the right track and go with the singer at the same time . . . Drum dancing is just like driving a dog team—you have to warm up. It’s not like a Ski-Doo. You have to know where you’re going, get on the right track and go—all at the same time. – Noah Piugattuk


Channel 51: Igloolik – Celebrating 30 Years of Inuit Video Art Esker Foundation Calgary, AB SEPTEMBER 21–DECEMBER 2019

Toronto Biennial of Art Various Locations Toronto, ON SEPTEMBER 21–NOVEMBER 30, 2019

Isuma: Collective Media Activism from Inuit Points of View Art Museum at the University of Toronto Toronto, ON





Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers Bihttoš (Rebel)

by Tanya Lukin Linklater

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Few filmmakers are as fearless as Tailfeathers in their clarity; her voice speaks to injustices, interwoven with familial pain, the pain of children and the trauma that is rooted in systems that disregard our humanity, felt in our lives, materially.


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (b. 1985 Vancouver) — Bihttoš (Rebel) (stills) 2014 Video 14 min COURTESY MOVING IMAGES


Elwood Jimmy uses this language to speak and write about the kinds of work he gestures towards.


Some films stay with you. Each time you listen and experience them, your sensibility shifts and you are altered by the stories at their centre. You find another reason to weep. Perhaps it is the strength of a child’s voice, speaking the Sámi language, the songful sound, thick in her telling, or the aching question that begins the film Bihttoš (Rebel) (2014), “Why couldn’t our love guide him through the darkness?” I’ve been thinking about how we listen in an expansive and enlivened way¹ to honour the stories that are shared with us, visually, aurally—an embodied listening that allows us to be in relation to, to move and to be moved. In a sense this 2014 film is an origin story for the filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, also an award-winning writer, director, producer and actor. She retells her parents’ heartbreaking and hopeful rebel love story. Sámi and Blackfoot activists in the late 1970s and early 1980s, their love traversed oceans and continents. Bihttoš also portrays the compassion and pain between a daughter and her father, the fierceness of love for one’s homelands and peoples as well as generations of kindnesses. Few filmmakers are as fearless as Tailfeathers in their clarity; her voice speaks to injustices, interwoven with familial pain, the pain of children and the trauma that is rooted in systems that disregard our humanity, felt in our lives, materially. In her telling, we experience the breaking down and breaking apart, the picking up, the carrying, the not knowing, the material consequences of systems and structures and the fallout of this hurt that extends across generations. The strength of this story is partly that it is true. It is told experimentally through stop-motion, collaged archival photographs, multiple female narrators, poetic re-enactments, spoken partly in Sámi, connecting histories that are felt and held in the spaces between us. Tailfeathers does this all while denying audiences a spectacle of pain. It is an ethical, rigorous, felt film that moves the viewer. We see the ways that collectively, our lives have been changed by residential and boarding schools, systems that removed children from their communities, replacing 19

the familial home with structures—places, languages, ideas—that damaged children, later called survivors. The intergenerational impacts of this damage are handled in the film as a considered and ethical kind of materiality. The context for Bihttoš is partly the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada and thousands of survivor testimonials. As a Blackfoot and Sámi filmmaker, Tailfeathers experiences both of these histories and their legacies in her family. The narration by a girl’s voice in Sámi is a gesture towards a love of language, a decentring of English, a wrapping of the body in this language; the listener moves uneasily, hesitant in this sound, or they feel the texture and sound resonating in different moments, in different places of their body. The film begins from this place, from this place of language, when language was a primary colonizing force in children’s lives. It reveals the everyday experiences of difference within upper-middle-class white spaces in North Dakota—neighbourhoods, schools, athletic events. These moments settle slowly in the body as sediment in a lake. The last image is of Elle-Máijá’s father: the couple sit in a small boat facing one another. The frame moves to Tailfeather’s father and his head moves towards his chest. I wonder, What does justice feel like in our families? In the telling of her parents’ activism, we understand the connection between histories and lived realities—that history informs our experiences, but also shows us that our agency, our actions can change the course of history. At the centre of this relationship between history and experience are forms of radical rebel love.

— Tanya Lukin Linklater is a Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) artist whose work spans performance, text, video and installation. She is from Alaska and based in northern Ontario. Front


Alethea Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos by Stacey Aglok

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Alethea’s work has truly transcended filmmaking and has become a living, breathing process that doesn’t end when the movie ends.

Alethea Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril (b. 1978 Iqaluit) — Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos (stills) 2011 Video 50 min COURTESY CINEMA POLITICA


Part of what makes Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos (2011) special for me comes from knowing what happened behind the scenes. The odds were stacked against Alethea Aggiuq Arnaquq-Baril when she set off to make it. There was little support and no mentorship opportunities for her. The ability for an Inuk to break into the film industry in Iqaluit, NU, as both creative force and business mastermind was nearly impossible at the time. And, to top it off, she didn’t pick an easy topic for her first film. I have had the privilege of growing into the film industry with and working alongside Alethea, and I know intimately the many challenges she overcame to make Tunniit. She fought to make this film and, in making it, opened doors for other Inuit to become involved in film production. She learned lessons that eventually allowed her to make another very challenging and important documentary, the award winning Angry Inuk (2016). A little backstory about how I came to meet Alethea: following the completion of my studies at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in 2004, I had the opportunity to be a production and post-production assistant on the documentary Staking the Claim: Dreams, Democracy and Canadian Inuit. I loved the experience and the process of making films so much that I wanted to see if I could find another job in the field. I began looking for opportunities in Iqaluit and, unsurprisingly, there weren’t many leads—but I did learn Alethea’s name. She was at the very start of her career, but her name was already becoming known. A young Inuk woman who wanted to make films—she sounded awesome to me! We met soon after I moved to Iqaluit and began working together almost immediately. Alethea knew very early on that we needed to be the creators and drivers of our own film projects. Fast forward to 14 years later, she has been able to create and share her incredible body of work with the world. Back to Tunniit. The documentary was Alethea’s first passion project. Already in development when we met, it took her about five years to complete from start to finish (not counting the years she spent just dreaming about it). It was not a seamless 21

process. She struggled. Making a film is never easy, and making a first film with no mentorship is almost impossibly difficult. The result of her struggle is an incredible film. Following a montage of historic photos of women with tunniit (facial tattoos), Alethea along with activist and storyteller Aaju Peter travel across Nunavut to uncover information about traditional tattoos and other aspects of Inuit culture banned or suppressed by the Canadian government and the influence of religion. They interview elders to learn about the regional variations in style, meaning and application of tunniit. Near the end, both women are tattooed and the powerful moment is recorded. We see Alethea beaming with pride as she shows her tattoos to friends for the first time. Rarely are such moments captured on film. Speaking on why she made the film, Alethea once said, “No matter how rooted or grounded you are relative to your peers or to your parent’s generation, I think as Indigenous people across Canada, and across the world, no matter where you’re from, we have this sense of loss and we’re recovering from it.” Though this quote was about Tunniit, I think it can also very easily be applied to Angry Inuk and most (if not all) of Alethea’s work, an important body of films about recovering and reclaiming our identity. I encourage readers (especially if you have access to good and reasonably affordable Internet) to seek out some of Alethea’s talks and Q&A’s available online. You will learn not only about what drives her creative work, but also about Indigenous issues, healing and reconciliation. Alethea’s work has truly transcended filmmaking and has become a living, breathing process that doesn’t end when the movie ends. — Stacey Aglok is Founder of Puhitaq Films Inc. and Co-founder and President of Qanukiaq Studios Inc. Aglok is one of Nunavut’s leading television producers. Originally from Kugluktuk, NU, she is a writer, director and producer of the popular Inuktut comedy series, Qanurli?, broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Aglok currently lives in Iqaluit with her daughter. Front

ᑐᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᖃᙱᑦᑎᐊᖅ ᓂ ᐊᔾᔨᓕᐅᕆᓂᐊᕐᓗ ᐃᓂᐅᔪᓐᓇᖅᑐᑦ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᑉ ᑲᔾᔨᖅᐸᓯᐊᓂ!

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vutfilm nunavu “ᖃᑦᑕᐅᔭᙳᐊᖅ” (Mont Asgard) ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ ᑲᓇᑕᒥᐅᓂ Auyuittuq National Park Parc national Auyuittuq


Asinnajaq, artist and curator

Home to the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. Thousands of artworks, thousands of stories to share.

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Indigenous Art Curatorial Fund Itee Pootoogook (1951–2014), Untitled (man with hoodie and sunglasses), 2012, coloured pencil and graphite on paper, 49.5 × 64.8 cm, Collection of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an Agency of the Government of Ontario

From archival animations and gritty documentaries to experimental videos and fictional shorts, film continues to be an integral medium for artists working across the circumpolar North and beyond. Here, we convene 10 filmmakers from Alaska to Sรกpmi to reveal their shared histories and stories that cross both borders and oceans as well as highlight their unique perspectives on this narrative form. Taken together, the following Profiles offer a brief insight into the voices shaping contemporary cinema both within and outside the Arctic.


“I just feel like a young filmmaker,” laughs writer and director Katie Doane Avery on the phone from her home in Los Angeles, California. After a number of years working in the non-profit arts sector, Avery made the jump behind the camera during her graduate studies at the California Institute of the Arts and has already worked on an impressive list of Hollywood productions, including Jill Soloway’s Transparent (2014–present). Her thesis film Polar Sun (2016) is a muted, tonal family drama interwoven with traditional Iñupiaq stories surrounding the northern lights. This blending of genres comes naturally for Avery. “In a lot of my work there is always an aspect of trying to nurture what my cultural representation is through the story,” she explains. Gently, Jennifer (2018), her most recent short, is a humorous 1980s-tinged, coming-of-age tale, where two girls discover a porn magazine in a sibling’s room before the title character is sucked into its pages. Here, she encounters Pucker’s titular figure in the midst of a technicolour fog as the dreamy synth sounds of “Safety Dance” fill the background. Though work on the film only recently finished, Avery already has her sights on the next project. From scripts in the works for a tale of an underground queer mafia in 1970s New York to a steam punk, alt-historical epic lead by four Indigenous women in the Old West, Avery’s category-defying stories continue to challenge the stereotypical tropes that often pervade narrative filmmaking. “I’m really interested in character-driven stories. We spend so much time drawing lines or separating out people and belief systems, but I’m really interested in opening that up for discussion.” – Evan Pavka

Katie Doane Avery b. 1979 Los Angeles, California —

Katie Doane Avery (b. 1979 Los Angeles) — Gently, Jennifer (still) 2018 Video 9 min 30 sec COURTESY THE ARTIST

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Jerri Thrasher was 12 years old when she decided she was going to become a filmmaker. Having grown up in Paulatuk, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT, a community with fewer than 350 residents and little access to creative outlets, Thrasher’s personal history drives her to create work that resonates with young Inuvialuit, work that was not accessible to her while growing up. The Inuvik-based filmmaker and producer is also keen on addressing the major challenges Inuit face in relation to colonialism and wants her self-determination to inspire youth to follow their own artistic path. “Through these stories, I really hope people can relate,” she explains. “I think it’s really important that they give some sort of hope for the future.” The Last Walk (2017), her most recent project with the International Sámi Film Institute (ISFI), used a common script developed by five filmmakers from across the circumpolar world to tell a similar story, adapted into three separate short films and each told from a unique regional and cultural perspective. Thrasher’s segment borrows from Inuit mythology and follows two sisters whose relationship is fraught with tension. A mysterious being influences the pair’s path as they attempt to reconcile their different worlds and “to stay rooted to [their] traditional values and skills, but also live in this fast-paced changing modern world,” as Thrasher describes. The sober mood and atmosphere of the film, as well as the characteristics of the leads, echo the darker undertones of the plot. Thrasher is currently at work on a portion of the Arctic Chills series, another project with the ISFI, which will expand on her interest in contemporary interpretations of traditional stories: “For me, I really just wanted people to know the Arctic in its raw existence.” – Napatsi Folger

Jerri Thrasher b. 1989 Inuvik, NT —

Jerri Thrasher (b. 1989 Inuvik) — The Last Walk (still) 2017 Video 42 min COURTESY THE ARTIST



Circumpolar Cinema


Films and filmmaking have been an integral part of Ottawa-based Mosha Folger’s life since infancy. His father, Ed Folger, was a filmmaker in the 1960s and 1970s and Mosha notes that while growing up “we were exposed to foreign films, [including] French films, Italian films and Japanese films.” The dramatic cuts and unconventional perspectives of cult-classics such as Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 anime feature Akira inspired Folger’s early stopmotion productions like The Big Lemming (2014), a short film that uses stark imagery of a snow-covered landscape and a driving viola soundtrack to reveal that even the lemming has power and place in the mythology of the Arctic. His most recent documentary Iglu:Angirraq (House:Home) (2018) centres on the unique experiences of homelessness among Inuit in Iqaluit, NU. Folger himself is intimately tied to this story both through his former step-mother Annie Iola and his own experiences with “hidden homelessness” and overcrowded housing. Interspersed with interviews from numerous Iqaluit residents about their experiences, Iglu:Angirraq follows Iola’s story, spanning from her early life in tiny matchboxstyle social housing as a young girl in the 1960s to her living on the streets of Ottawa, ON, and then to presentday Iqaluit, where despite having a good job, she is still unable to secure residence due to the housing crisis and inaccessibility of units in the capital city. The director hopes the film sheds light on the stories of individuals living under the crushing weight of homelessness in the Arctic. “It was an educational endeavor,” he explains. “I wanted to help people who knew the story to tell it and to try and reach a wider audience.” – Napatsi Folger

Mosha Folger b. 1978 Ottawa, ON/Iqaluit, NU —

Mosha Folger (b. 1978 Ottawa/Iqaluit) — Iglu:Angirraq (House:Home) (still) 2018 Video 45 min COURTESY THE ARTIST

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Growing up between Denmark and Greenland, Nuuk-based Aka Hansen cannot remember a time that she did not want to have a camera in her hand, and she has since become a trailblazing member of the country’s new generation of emerging filmmakers. “I make films that I really want to see, because nobody else is making them here,” Hansen says. Following her success in 2009 with the first exclusively Greenlandic-language film Hinnarik Sinnattunilu, Hansen produced Qaqqat Alanngui (2011), which tells the story of a group of friends on a graduation trip to a summer cabin who become the target of a qivittoq—a hermit that has acquired supernatural powers while living in isolation on the land. Most recently, she wrote and produced the pilot episode for the science fiction web series Polar (2017), which screened at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and is in the process of planning a documentary centred on her uncle and his experiences searching for his Danish father. While much of Hansen’s work is made with a Greenlandic audience in mind, her more personal exploration in Half and Half (2016) has appealed equally to international viewers. “I wanted to talk about the people that are mixed, or in between, or outside the boxes that we want to put each other in.” The short explores her blended heritage through contrasting scenes of the director in Greenland, donning traditional attire, and then moving mechanically through an unnamed Danish city. “I think my next projects will be more ‘inside out’,” she muses, “coming from here and going out into the world to tell a story about us. It’s time for that now.” – Emily Henderson

Aka Hansen b. 1987 Nuuk, Greenland —

Aka Hansen (b. 1987 Nuuk) — Half and Half (still) 2016 Video 3 min COURTESY THE ARTIST



Circumpolar Cinema


Currently the Head of Production for Channel Films, Anchorage-based Howdice Brown III has charted an unconventional path in film. A fascination with the filmmaking process, as well as deconstructing it, led him to pursue assistantships during his studies at the University of Alaska. Since then, his experience-based practice has yielded work on a range of productions from music videos to advertisements in a number of roles including Director of Photography for two segments of the Ketchikan Story Project (2009–11), an award-winning series chronicling the community of Ketchikan, AK. In 2017 Brown worked with the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska Historical Society on the pilot project Alaska Treaty of Cession: Causes & Consequences, which coincided with the state’s sesquicentennial celebrations. After discovering a similar video made for Alaska’s centennial in the archives and noticing a distinct lack of Indigenous perspectives, Brown’s take is a tense, gritty and gripping story that combines archival images with contemplative scenes of landscapes alongside a number of interviews. The resulting short captures a range of perspectives on the issues surrounding the United States’ purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Recently, he has begun stepping out of this more commercial world. “One thing that really fascinates me are projects that can reflect what’s happening now,” he says. “I like these pieces that time-stamp where we are at.” With this interest in mind, Brown has set his sights on capturing the contours of Alaska’s Indigenous cultural scene in hopes of profiling multiple voices across multiple platforms. “I like the idea of being here and being a part of these kinds of projects. You can’t get that anywhere else.” – Evan Pavka

Howdice Brown III b. 1989 Anchorage, Alaska —

Howdice Brown III (b. 1989 Anchorage) — Alaska Treaty of Cession: Causes & Consequences (still) 2017 Video 3 min 35 sec COURTESY ALASKA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

Gabriel Nuraki Koperqualuk (b. 1986 Montreal) — Fractal River (still) 2018 Video 44 sec COURTESY THE ARTIST


Multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker Gabriel Nuraki Koperqualuk has spent his career connecting to his Nunavimmiut identity while living and producing art in an urban centre. “What does it mean to be an Inuk?” he asks me over the phone from his home in Montreal, QC. “I try to integrate that into my work as much as possible.” Koperqualuk is known for co-directing 2018’s The 5th Region, a documentary that explores what it means to be among the 30 per cent of Inuit now living in the South as an emerging “fifth region” of Inuit Nunangat. The film focuses on the lives and careers of artist Niap (Nancy Saunders) and educator and community organizer Joshua Stribbell, detailing their experiences with community, belonging and identity formation in the city. By day, Koperqualuk is a journalist for the radio program Nipivut, and notes that his role has given him the opportunity to connect with and interview artists, musicians and politicians that have since influenced his own practice. Trained in commercial photography at Dawson College, Koperqualuk now explores other avenues of image-making by transforming photographs into shifting, geometric and psychedelic worlds in the experimental series that populate his social media accounts. Using his own images as well as archival photographs of the Arctic, the artist sees his work as a contemporary nod to the adaptability of traditional ways of life. “In my digital work I’m taking a photograph and transforming it into something completely new,” Koperqualuk says of these stills and animations. “To me, it resonates with our traditional way of being in the North—taking what we have in front of us and using it in our own creative ways to help us survive.” – Emily Henderson

Gabriel Nuraki Koperqualuk b. 1986 Montreal, QC —



Circumpolar Cinema


With a background in photography and two novels to her name, Tønsberg-based Ann Holmgren is a natural storyteller, passionate about exploring diverse points of view. In the subdued Edith & Aljosja (2015), the cultural differences between the star-crossed title characters are echoed in their physical and metaphorical separation by a river, while her 2017 short film Vulkan (Volcano) tells the story of Edith, a young woman setting out to speak with residents of her hometown of Kiruna, Sweden, in search of answers to pressing questions about how we make sense and meaning of our lives. Shot almost entirely in stunning black and white, the dialogue—framed by the monochromatic chiaroscuro scenes of the city, its inhabitants and the looming mining project beyond— is based off of conversations Holmgren conducted during the production process. “I usually create [as a way] to find out more regarding something that I’m really curious about,” she notes. “I had all these meetings and there were so many people opening up and sharing their worldview. The space that we created during those conversations, maybe that was the movie.” Originally from Östersund, Sweden, Holmgren currently works as a writer on a Norwegian television series and also produces a Sámi-language children’s program. Her most recent documentary film Nuit (2019) premiered at the Göteborg Film Festival earlier this year and centres on an elderly blind woman excluded from society. The film places viewers in the position to confront initial prejudices about the protagonist as layers of her story gradually unfold throughout the piece. “It’s all about different perspectives and how our different views separate us from each other,” says Holmgren, “but also a way of trying to reach each other despite these differences.” – Emily Henderson

Ann Holmgren b. 1975 Tønsberg, Norway —

Ann Holmgren (b. 1975 Tønsberg) — Edith & Aljosja (still) 2015 Video 9 min COURTESY THE ARTIST

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Hailing from a reindeer-herding family in Skibotn/ Gálgojávri, Norway, Marja Bål Nango has always been a storyteller—from her early days as a toddler, making her mother transcribe her stories as she told them, to her current career as a script writer and film director. Nango’s 2015 film O.M.G.(Oh Máigon Girl) follows teenage Máigon (Elle Martine Eira) and her best friend Ánne-Sire (Anne Kaja Gaup), who live in a small village on the Arctic tundra. The 18-minute short succinctly captures modern youth and the characters’ blooming sexuality, opening with shots of the girls dancing in front of a laptop for various strangers in online chatrooms. An overarching sense of dread and danger is expertly expressed with intimate close-ups of the girls and their rambunctious male counterparts, mixed with wide angle scenes of the sparse landscape and barren stretches of road in the summer light. Upbeat rock vocals by female musicians open and close the film, further capturing the contours and rebellious energy of adolescence. Her latest short film Njuokčamat/The Tongues, forthcoming in 2019, was co-written with her sister Ingir Bål Nango and tells the story of a Sámi woman’s experience after being abused by a man out on the land. “I’m very interested in the contemporary Sámi world,” she explains. Nango describes the film in terms of Sámi storytelling, and although a non-Sámi audience might see it as replete with magical elements, for Sámi it is a story containing the truth about the world around them, using a combination of symbolism and rawness to convey the tone and arc of the story. She is currently at work on her first feature-length film, titled Guođoheaddji/The Reindeer Herder, where Nango will again focus on elements of Sámi tradition interwoven with contemporary life. – Napatsi Folger

Marja Bål Nango b. 1988 Gálgojávri, Norway —

Marja Bål Nango (b. 1988 Gálgojávri) — O.M.G. (Oh Máigon Girl) (still) 2015 Video 18 min COURTESY THE ARTIST AND INTERNATIONAL SÁMI FILM INSTITUTE



Circumpolar Cinema


Originally from Newfoundland, Montreal-based animator, filmmaker and visual artist Glenn Gear is often inspired by the exploration of his identity as an urban Inuk with ancestral ties to Nunatsiavut. “I find once you’re really embedded in those creative processes, you can uncover so much about yourself,” says Gear, adding that he typically produces content for his community and other Inuit across and outside of Inuit Nunangat. “I’m always grappling with that idea of being on the land and belonging to the land, but also feeling comfortable in the city.” Speaking with Gear, it is hard to miss the playful energy that is so apparent in much of his work. His recent animation Kablunât: Legend of the Origin of the White People (2016) draws from a Nunatsiavummiut legend recorded by a Moravian missionary. Making use of archival photographs collected over nearly nine years, Gear reinterprets the legend for a contemporary Inuit audience, while framing the story as a reclamation from colonial retellings. “I wanted to literally insert myself in that narrative, break it apart and see what was there in a kind of dreamlike way,” he notes. In 2016, at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Gear expanded his practice outward to include installation, creating a piece comprised of two opposing murals, representing the city and the wilderness, respectively, that met on a third wall where his own footage from Nunatsiavut was projected on a circular “portal.” “I think people pass back and forth all the time, so I don’t want to set up an artificial division between ‘the urban’ and ‘the wild’,” he explains. “I think home is always that space in between.” – Emily Henderson

Glenn Gear b. 1970 Montreal, QC —

Glenn Gear (b. 1970 Montreal) — Kablunât: Legend of the Origin of the White People (still) 2016 Video 10 min 30 sec COURTESY THE ARTIST

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


“I like films without dialogue,” explains the owner of Ujâvaaq Pictures Ulannaq Ingemann from his home in Sisimiut, Greenland. “I find them really interesting because I like being in that quiet place.” Following his studies at the European Film College in Ebeltoft, Denmark, Ingemann’s first release Killormut (Upside Down) (2014) reflects this particular preference. The film portrays a man wrestling with suicidal thoughts through rigid shots, almost all completely set in the cab of his overturned vehicle after it veers off the road. The audience’s point of view changes only briefly, consistently mirroring the claustrophobic feeling of the man’s inner thoughts. Thor Eugenius (2016) employs a similar deliberate quietness to evoke a feeling that, according to the director, “is not in slow motion but [is] very slow in the feel.” Wide landscape shots mingle with tight scenes of photographlike stillness, alongside warm close-ups that express the daily life of hunter Thor Eugenius. The short exemplifies the patience and pace of life as an Inuit hunter—all in under three minutes. Though many of his projects are currently freelance, Ingemann has a passion for timelapse, a technique that further relays his perspective of the beauty of Greenland and its people. Ingemann is currently finishing the Black Mirror– inspired short family drama, titled Updated, set for release in August 2019, with director Nivi Pedersen. Updated follows a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her son, who is planning for her to be part of his wedding. Futuristic (or near-future) technology provides access to the ailing mother’s thoughts. Here, the director’s fondness for stillness and quiet becomes a thought-provoking examination of the complexities of silence. – Napatsi Folger

Ulannaq Ingemann b. 1990 Sisimiut, Greenland —

Ulannaq Ingemann (b. 1990 Sisimiut) — Thor Eugenius (still) 2016 Video 3 min COURTESY THE ARTIST



Circumpolar Cinema


Maureen Gruben Seal in our Blood (2018) Sealskin, red velvet and thread

FAZAKAS GALLERY 688 East Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6A 1R1

Inuit Art Quarterly

(604) 876-2729



Summer 2019

Epic Journeys, Exceptional Experts

Š Scott Forsyth

For more than thirty years, Adventure Canada has been offering fun, educational, and life-changing small-ship expeditions to some of the world’s most unique and remote destinations. Join us aboard the 198-passenger Ocean Endeavour as we navigate the icy waters of the Northwest Passage, follow the path of the Vikings from Iceland to Greenland, or circumnavigate Ireland or Newfoundland. On board, enjoy presentations from foremost regional experts as we explore everything from local and international politics to arts, science, and culture. We engage, educate, and entertain by connecting people to each other and the land through travel. Join us for the journey of a lifetime. call for details


Canadian High Arctic . Greenland . Northwest Passage . Newfoundland & Labrador . Nova Scotia . Gulf of Saint Lawrence Iceland . Scotland . Costa Rica & the Panama Canal


— by Sarah Milroy


Behind the scenes of Saputi (Fish Traps) (1993) COURTESY IGLOOLIK ISUMA PRODUCTIONS INC.


Natar Ungalaaq as Atanarjuat on the set of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO VIVIANE DELISLE

Inuit Art Quarterly

From Iglulik to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Biennale and back again, Isuma has had an immense and far-reaching impact on Indigenous filmmaking, language and cultural storytelling. Reflecting on a trip North in the early 1990s, prior to their international acclaim, curator and writer Sarah Milroy delves into the collective’s legacy, their presentation of time and what Isuma’s work means for us all.


Summer 2019

Zacharias Kunuk on the set of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO VIVIANE DELISLE

I was sitting on a twin-engine propeller plane, flying the two hours north from Iqaluit, NU, to Iglulik, a tiny hamlet on an island at the eastern end of the Fury and Hecla Strait, between Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island) and Nunavut’s Melville Peninsula. It was 1992, a decade before 9/11 would make flying up front with the pilots a thing of the past. On this day, though, I had talked my way into the jump seat with them. We watched the Arctic landscape rolling toward us—a wide, unfurrowed brow of tundra, lakes and bogs—and it was more North than I had ever imagined possible. Up ahead, hanging in the air in an arc above the horizon, a thin dusty band of discolouration hovered against the blue sky. “What is that brown stuff?” I asked the pilot, after a spell of quiet. “China,” he said. “It’s pollution blowing over the pole.” The farther we flew north, the darker it became. It was the first of many revelations and recalibrations that would unspool in the days to come. I would learn about Inuit life in this place, both contemporary and traditional, exploring the town, but also living on the land with the Isuma team, camping in tents on the mainland of the Melville Peninsula. (The word isuma means “to think” in Inuktitut.) The collective was gathering there to make the video Saputi (Fish Traps), which was set (with painstaking accuracy) in the 1930s and would be premiered the following year at the Museum of Modern Art in New York under the auspices of my soon-to-be tent mate, Sally Berger, then the curator of video art at MoMA. She and I had been invited to watch its making. Our hosts were a pair of extraordinary people: Norman Cohn and Zacharias Kunuk, OC, two of the four founding partners of Igloolik Isuma Productions. The other two founders were Paul Apak Angilirq (1954–1998) and Pauloosie Qulitalik (1939–2012). Cohn had seen Kunuk’s earliest work at a video distribution centre in Montreal, QC, in 1985 and had identified a kindred sensibility. He soon found a way to travel and lead video training courses in the North, on contract with the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. He met Kunuk


later that year at the session he led in Iqualuit, returned with him to Iglulik, and they have been friends and colleagues ever since. It was my knowledge of Cohn’s work that had originally drawn me to the collective, which had formed just a year before my trip. His video masterpiece, Quartet for Deafblind (1986), shown in 1987 at documenta 8, in which deaf and blind children were invited to engage with the camera as both subjects and documentarians, had won my respect some years before, as had his implicit interest in deconstructing power relations within the genre. Cohn’s move to Iglulik to facilitate the development of a video collective was thus a natural extension of his earlier artistic inclination to share the power of the lens. In collaboration with Kunuk, Cohn would be Isuma’s cameraman as well as navigator-in-chief of the funding and distribution challenges in the South. The big wins—the Caméra d’Or at Cannes in 2001 for Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner; the launch of IsumaTV in 2008; the creation of the internet platform Digital Indigenous Democracy in 2012; and the current commission to represent Canada at the 2019 Venice Biennale—still lay years in the future. These were early days. Cohn met me at the airport. I remember him as intense and compact and very, very busy with his work as he and the team prepared for the shoot. It was my first visit to the Arctic, so I was happy to roam on my own, disoriented by the physical austerity of the hamlet even in those glory days of late August, with children playing in the streets into the late hours. A subtle dusk after midnight was the only reprieve from the light and so much sky. Those first days brought a lot of waiting. We were to travel from Iglulik to the campsite by boat, I was told, but specifics were hard to come by. When, for example, were we leaving? Today, maybe tomorrow, was considered a sufficient answer. Best to stay close, where we can find you. Kunuk seemed amused by my Southern addiction to my wristwatch and by my many questions, most of which soon started to sound absurd to me, too, and most of which he


From an Inuk Point of View

There would be no authoritative voice-overs, no omniscient narrator, no southern-style music to stitch the viewer’s experiences together— just the watching eye of the camera, recording against a backdrop of silence and the sounds of the Inuktitut spoken word.

didn’t answer. And so I sat in Cohn’s tiny house, with his partner, Marie-Hélène Cousineau (who would go on to make work of her own, with the women’s video collective Arnait Video Productions), and their baby, Sam. In the end, I made the boat ride to camp alone with one guide in a canoe with an outboard motor—a three- or four-hour journey as I remember it, punctuated by one stop for tea on a patch of bald rock. We lit the Coleman stove, boiled the water, had tea and listened to the transistor radio playing a CBC newscast about the Nunavut land claims, currently under negotiation, while sitting in the midst of the biggest, emptiest (to me), most silent place I had ever been. The camp, when we got there, was sizable—with ten or more big white canvas tents on platforms by the water’s edge and a range of people, from grandmothers to babies, living and working together. Saputi, the video in production, would document the making of a stone weir fish trap in a river near the campsite, a late summer pursuit for Inuit in the old days. The men in camp were working on the video and on building the weir, often knee-deep in the rushing water all day using their bare hands, with only skin clothing to protect their legs and feet. (I remember their hands turning orange from the cold and the many tiny leeches that bonded to their flesh, which I was told came with the territory.) The women in camp were preparing food and finishing their work on the clothing for the actors—amauti (women’s parkas) and waterproof kamiit (boots) made the traditional way—the skins chewed for softness hour after hour, the stitches tiny and tight to prevent leaks. It was clear that here in camp Kunuk called the shots, but it was also clear that much about the project was enabled by Cohn, including minding the visitors. One night, realizing that Sally Berger and I had been living on ramen noodles for days, he fried us up some caribou meat in his tent. I remember having the ideology of the project explained to me, and then explained again. There was and remains something almost evangelical about Cohn’s passion for the work of the collective. We were told that they were making a new kind of documentary. There would be no authoritative voice-overs, no omniscient narrator, no southern-style music to stitch the viewer’s experiences together—just the watching eye of the camera, recording against a backdrop of silence and the sounds of the Inuktitut spoken word. Things would take as long as they took, both on camera and off. As the days went by I asked fewer questions. My head opened up and all my ideas flew away. I remember asking one question, though, that left Kunuk completely confounded: “How do you men in the camp decide who gets to be the leader of the hunt?” Presumably, I continued, this was an honour that was vied for. Inevitably, there would be disagreements. He looked at me in genuine confusion. Could I repeat the question? I did. A beat. “Well,” he said, “of course the best hunter leads the hunt. Everyone knows who the best hunter is.” I was sorry I’d asked. The question had revealed so much about my culture, which I was now beginning to understand from another perspective. In the North, such competition would be the enemy of efficiency, and efficiency is what has guaranteed survival for millennia. When it was time to leave camp, I would have been happy to stay longer, except for the fact that I had left my young family back in Toronto. But when the plane came to get me, it was a foggy day. After circling several times, the plane flew away, its engine noise gradually faded. I stared up into the blank whiteness. “Don’t worry,” Kunuk said to me. “He’ll come back next week.” I called home to my husband and I cried. But the days that followed in Iglulik were a crash course in Inuit life, and I have never forgotten them. TV had just come to the community a few years before (Iglulik was the last holdout), and I remember watching Dallas (1978–91) reruns in the house of my impromptu and unfailingly generous host, Kunuk’s sister, Mary Kunuk, a school teacher in the community. I spent an unforgettable afternoon visiting with a very old man in town who made and sold uluit (women’s knives) which cut with a rocking motion. I still have mine in my kitchen drawer. In the high school, I attended a session on positive reinforcement, led by a jaded facilitator flown in from Ottawa, ON. I also saw the way the men in town threw themselves into gear when belugas were spotted


Behind the scenes of Saputi (Fish Traps) (1993) COURTESY IGLOOLIK ISUMA PRODUCTIONS INC.



From an Inuk Point of View

Benjamin Kunuk as Kuanana on the set of Maliglutit (Searchers) (2016) COURTESY KINGULLIIT PRODUCTIONS PHOTO A.J. MESSIER

Isuma’s work continues to make me think more about how we can solve conflicts through coming to solutions of mutual benefit, how we can strengthen the bonds of respect between generations and how we can honour the natural world, even now.

government edict in the 1950s. The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006) describes the visits of the Danish explorer to the region in his Fifth Thule Expedition of 1912 to 1924, depicting the tender exchange of cultures between Rasmussen and the hospitable Inuit with whom he travelled. But the film also documents the disorienting conversion of Inuit shifting from shamanic to Christian beliefs under the manipulation of missionaries, who exploited the threat of imminent starvation to alienate Inuit from their traditional beliefs. Quietly presented, patiently, without editorializing, that story of loss is all the more intensely felt for the delicacy of its telling. More recent Isuma projects have continued to reinforce the value of careful listening and open communication, extending those ideas into the realm of activism. IsumaTV serves as a collaborative platform for Indigenous media organizations and independent producers and filmmakers from around the world. It now hosts more than seven thousand videos in 75 languages, as well as image and audio files from user-controlled channels in Canada, the US, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. Digital Indigenous Democracy sprang from the need to find ways for Inuit to share information and make their voices heard in the context of the developing multi-million-dollar Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation’s Mary River Project in North Qikiqtaaluk. Using the internet, community radio, local television and social

moving past the island. In a matter of minutes, all the boats were in the water, with the slab-like chunks of meat distributed to various households around the hamlet by the end of the afternoon, including ours. I remember thinking how this spontaneous way of life was anathema to the structured nine-to-five way of working in the South, in which such opportunities would almost certainly be lost. That same ingenious way of seizing opportunity has come to characterize the work of Isuma in the intervening 26 years since my time with them, as they have taken the chances afforded by their success and struggled to overcome their setbacks, including temporary bankruptcy in 2011. The work of the collective would embody not just the stories of the Inuit of that region, but also their deepest values. In Saputi, for example, the weir was built, but the fish never came; the team had misjudged the timing of the spawning season. At the end we see the camp break up to move on in search of other sustenance, disappointed but not discouraged. Saputi thus becomes a testament to the humility and vulnerability of human beings before the forces of nature and the necessity of careful looking, waiting, and diligence. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), while a love story, is at its deepest level an exploration of the ways in which Inuit society’s vital cohesion could be strained and then repaired in the small migratory communities that predated the settlements created by

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

media, the platform has allowed Inuit and other Indigenous communities to share and strategize. Isuma’s most recent project, launching as Canada’s official entry at this summer’s 58th Venice Biennale, is a feature titled One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019), a drama that imagines the day in 1961 when an Inuit camp leader and Anglican convert was directed to bring his migratory community into Iglulik, in compliance with the forced settlement program of that time. It’s a story very close to Kunuk’s heart. Kunuk began his life on the land, in a sod house in Qikiqtaaluk. In 1966, however, his parents were told by the government agent in the region that they would lose their family stipends unless they brought the children into town to attend school. It is a reality that that is common across Inuit Nunangat and one that has arguably fuelled Kunuk’s artistic journey. It turns out that I really needed those extra days in Iglulik. Certainly I had learned a lot about Inuit life, both past and present. But the visit also challenged and changed my ideas about time and its value. Isuma’s videos, with their real-time pacing and sense of the dilated moment, challenge the southern compulsion for speed, forcing those of us unfamiliar with the pace of life in the Arctic to decelerate into experience and contemplate a humbler way of listening and speaking. Their work continues to make me think more about how we can solve conflicts through coming to solutions of mutual benefit, how we can strengthen the bonds of respect between generations and how we can honour the natural world, even now. This is what Isuma productions are about, at least for me. The weekend after I got back to Toronto from Iglulik, my husband and I were driving north from the city with our children to our cabin up near Algonquin Park. Two hours into the drive, I suggested that we stop by the highway for tea. He looked at me as if I was crazy. “Don’t you want to just get there?” he asked. Of course, I understood exactly where he was coming from.


Production designer Susan Avingaq on the set of One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019) COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO LEVI UTTAK


Jacky Qrunnut as Mallik and Gouchrard Uttak as Japati see Boss’s dog team coming in One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk (2019) COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO LEVI UTTAK



From an Inuk Point of View

Between Making and Telling:

The Experimental Films of Lindsay McIntyre

— by Taqralik Partridge


Lindsay McIntyre (b. 1975 Vancouver) — where she stood in the first place 2012 16 mm to HD 10 min ALL STILLS COURTESY THE ARTIST


all-around junior male 2012 16 mm with optical 7 min 30 sec

Inuit Art Quarterly

This experimental filmmaker explores themes of form, place and identity through a distinct analogue practice involving handmade emulsions and various forms of chemical manipulations to 16 mm celluloid film, which she often feeds directly into projectors as part of live performances. The results are tender and revealing works that skirt the periphery of arthouse, documentary and narrative genres and present the complex shifting surfaces of the medium—capturing the unique materiality of film through its most fugitive element: light.


Summer 2019

A Northern Portrait 2012 Video and performance 28 min

Sock-clad feet walk into the frame. This is the first glimpse of Sean Uquqtuq in Lindsay McIntyre’s sepia-toned experimental portrait all-around junior male (2012). Filmed on hand-processed film, the sevenminute short is a play on dark and light, interior and exterior, shifting between solid form and negative space. We hear the faint call of a loon, the click of dripping water, an electric bass and a steady chant of voices that brings to mind the appearance of the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). A young athlete from Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU, Uquqtuq appears as a solitary figure practicing the high kick both inside in a t-shirt and out in the snow, fully clothed and shadowed. The celluloid is purposefully imperfect: mottled, shot through with spots that could be single-celled creatures or lichen. As Uquqtuq raises his face to the aqijaq that he must hit with his toes, lines dance around him. If we trust only our eyes, we may believe that he is surrounded by countless small and strange-lighted creatures in constant movement. McIntyre’s work asks for your time. If you’ve seen her films, even just the once, they stay with you, prodding and nudging you to think about them, to sit with them. all-around junior male, for example, takes a simple idea—one body repeating one task—and translates it into a contemplation of possibilities. The light touches only his eyes, the side of his face, his fingertips reaching to steady the ball of cloth. And then, in the snow, everything is light and only the lines of his features and the pattern on his jacket move through the air. Does the body move the ball, or does the ball pull the body into motion? A maker, McIntyre’s hands and handiwork feature prominently in her films—both in their imagery and in their physical creation. Much of her work is experimental. Though she teaches Film + Screen Arts at Emily Carr University and does cinematography for other filmmakers, her own work is largely created with celluloid emulsions that she makes herself—a practice that is equal parts art and science, and one fully characterized by its materiality. Training first in drawing and painting at the University of Alberta, McIntyre went on to complete an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University and today is one of very few artists worldwide who work in handmade emulsions. I first met McIntyre in the spring of 2018 at the Indigenous Film Conference in Kautokeino, Norway. She spoke gently, but had a strong presence and a markedly steady gaze. Seven months later, in October, we made plans to Skype. She was doing the cinematography for Métis filmmaker Rhayne Vermette’s forthcoming feature St. Anne (2019–20). Although our call didn’t


happen, I was able to view excerpts of her work online. Watching them was like looking at a fire through the grate of a wood stove: too much happening for the mind to process in the moment, but the memory of the flames is still there when you close your eyes. When we caught up again this past January, McIntyre was laid up on the couch in her North Vancouver, BC, living room, having just broken her ankle in a roller derby fall. She hoped it would not interfere with a film she was scheduled to shoot in northern Alberta with prize-winning Cree director Alexandra Lazarowich the following month. McIntrye fixed me with the same steady gaze, only now and then looking off to one side when recalling some detail, as I asked her about the works she has made that speak to who she is. Of course, I already knew. In our first brief conversation, McIntrye revealed she was marked by the experiences of the women in her family and that she had examined some of these experiences through film. Her family’s story is both singular in the sequence of its events and tragically common in the way that the effects of their unfolding have reached across several generations. In the late 1930s, McIntyre’s Inuk great-grandmother Kumaa’naaq and two of her eight children were spirited away by dog team from Qamani’tuaq (then part of the Northwest Territories) to Edmonton, AB. The agent of this relocation was Ray Ward, a British-born RCMP constable, who wanted Kumaa’naaq (a noted beauty) for his wife. Whether by force or consent, Kumaa’naaq along with her youngest son and daughter were moved to an Alberta farm where they no longer had access to Inuit community, food and activities and no longer spoke Inuktitut. Left behind in Qamani’tuaq were Kumaa’naaq’s Inuk husband, Paakaarjuaq, and her six other children. Broadly, McIntyre’s work is very much a story of women. As a child, like the other women in her family, she simply knew Kumaa’naaq as “Mum.” Mum was a silent, strange figure on the couch. She and Ward had raised McIntyre’s mother from infancy, so it was understood that they were both McIntyre’s grandparents. In life Ward loomed large, and his will dictated their lives. But it is Kumaa’naaq’s story that has taken hold of the filmmaker. From McIntyre’s first memories, Kumaa’naaq hardly ever spoke, and, in the last three years of her life, she was completely silent. In a series of five, short, experimental films titled Bloodline (2007–12), McIntyre has treated various aspects of this story with a lens that adds and reveals layers of meaning. The central work in the series, her silent life (2012), is the most directly descriptive of these films, as it lays out different aspects of the family history recounted by McIntrye, her mother, Edie, and her mother’s mother, Marguerite


Between Making and Telling

She looks at it, from all angles, making no pronouncements; instead, she transmutes the various pieces of stories through film, again and again, just as the strands of beads run through her grandmother’s hands. —

her silent life 2012 16 mm to HD 31 min

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

of that singular event that took the family away from Inuit Nunangat. It is clear there are many ways of telling this story, and McIntyre treats the different perspectives with equal weight. The women tell for themselves what happy, difficult and sometimes tragic things they have lived, and how aware they are of what they have lost. Because it is not didactic, the experimental format of this film allows the viewer a closer experience of the stories; the focus on hands, old photographs and landscapes and the privileging of voices over faces is a kind of metered poetry. The highest point of emotion in her silent life is in fact when McIntyre turns off the camera during part of the conversation with her grandmother. “This is where she tells me some things that, out of respect and shame, I cannot repeat, but will never forget.” This is enough. We do not need to hear more to know that here is heartbreak that runs very deep. In her personal essay “Silence as Resistance,” McIntyre discusses the motivations of the various actors in and on the lives of the women in her family. In her silent life, her grandmother, Marguerite, characterized Inuit of old as a people that were accommodating to

(or Peggy). Marguerite, one of Kumaa’naaq’s two children brought south with her on the qamutiik (sled), was long estranged from the family, and the footage of her as an old woman is from the first day she and McIntyre met in person. her silent life describes six acts of silence that defined Kumaa’naaq’s life and that have had lasting impacts on her descendants. From Kumaa’naaq’s abandonment of her mother tongue to her silent final years, McIntyre’s family has lived a story of loss that might otherwise be forgotten if not for her insistence on bringing it to light. “Through a learned mechanism rooted in shame, some of us still practice a kind of colonial amnesia—a deliberate ignorance, which ends, ultimately, in silence.”1 her silent life opens with the breath of an accordion and close views of Marguerite’s hands running strands of beads over and over through her fingers. We are told that these hands are exactly the same as Edie’s hands, and McIntyre’s own hands. The back and forth motion of the beads is mirrored by the back and forth telling by mother and grandmother. They have different views on Kumaa’naaq’s life, but they are both where they are because



Between Making and Telling

Documentation of the performance A Northern Portrait at Causey Contemporary, New York, 2011 COURTESY MONO NO AWARE

the same sequence, and, as with much of McIntyre’s other work, the a fault and reluctant to challenge authority. McIntyre’s own investipacing and use of repetition evoke a strong response. Intentionally gation confronts this idea with an understanding of Kumaa’naaq’s unsettling and dreamlike, it is a work that invites a second look. apparent passive silence as an act of self-assertion. Kumaa’naaq had McIntyre is not finished with the telling of her family history. lived through multiple life-changing events due to forces that were She plans to make a feature film based on Kumaa’naaq’s story. beyond her control, and the will to speak or not—in any language— McIntyre’s background in experimental film brings her to focus as was hers alone to exercise. much on the processes of making and telling as on the end result. “While the journey I took in the making of this film was an She goes over the grooves of a question with a skilled eye and hand, attempt to understand my matrilineal history,” explains the artist, raising yet more questions for herself and her audience. “I found that this history is buried under thick layers of patriarchal, One of the great losses in McIntyre’s family is Inuktitut. This is colonial lies.”2 In order to contend with this discovery, McIntyre a loss to which too many Inuit can relate. At a time when Inuit in the has taken a very Inuk approach to untangling the threads of this North are sounding the alarm about the decline of Inuktitut/Inuktut, matrilineal history: she looks at it, from all angles, making no McIntyre, like many Inuit living outside of Inuit Nunangat, is also pronouncements; instead, she transmutes the various pieces of trying to reclaim her language and culture. She tells me that she stories through film, again and again, just as the strands of beads and some fellow Inuit are working to create an Inuktitut course in run through her grandmother’s hands. In this way she deepens Vancouver, and she is eager to have more Inuit participate. She has understanding—hers and ours—so as to know how best to respond. a daughter; she wants her to know her language. When we are deprived of one kind of language, then we must This is the backbone of McIntyre’s work: the reclaiming of her resort to another. The shorter films in Bloodline lead up to and enrich stories—all that is beautiful and painful, wished for and discarded. our understandings of her silent life. where no one knew her name (2011) She takes it all in and lays it all out. is an almost still-life portrait, its saturated colour and uncomplicated panning across the remains of a household, evidently once full as a family, of movement, are a striking contrast to the others in the series. not speaking is what we do best. This is the southern home in which Kumaa’naaq and her children we are four generations of women came to live. estranged in various ways, but united in this what she would not leave behind (2007) is McIntyre’s recounting choking on words we can’t speak. of a dreamlike story as she turns a hide-cleaning tool in her hands. where she stood in the first place (2012) was filmed during the artist’s in making this film almost year-long stay in Qamani’tuaq; it is a contemplation on the i hope we can transform our pain land Kumaa’naaq was taken from and the effects of human activity into preventing its recurrence.3 on the land. though she never spoke, this is where her voice would have been (2008) is a performance work that combines emulsion footage with a soundtrack of old recordings the artist made on her toy tape recorder. We hear both Ward’s voice, repeatedly urging McIntyre to go ask NOTES her grandmother (Kumaa’naaq) to say something, and the sing-song and high-pitched squeals of McIntyre playing with the microphone. 1 Lindsay McIntyre, “Silence as Resitence: When Silence is the Only Weapon You Have Left,” in Pioneer Lies and Propertied Lives, ed. Erin Morton Visually, the work captures the movement of a collection of caribou (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019). teeth strung on a wire. Surely already prized as decorative objects 2 Ibid. during Kumaa’naaq’s lifetime, we may well infer that they are price- 3 Epilogue from her silent life, Lindsay McIntyre (Toronto, ON: Canadian Film less to the artist. The sound and images of this work never appear in Distribution Centre, 2011), 16 mm to HD.

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

where no one knew her name 2011 Digital Video 4 min



Between Making and Telling

Vantage Point:

— by Heather Igloliorte

For more than 60 years, Canada has showcased its most celebrated artists at the Canada Pavilion in the Giardini of the Venice Biennale. This year, for the first time ever, Inuit perspectives will figure prominently on the “main stage,� when artist collective Isuma, led by Zacharias Kunuk, OC and Norman Cohn, represents Canada at the 58th International Art Exhibition/La Biennale di Venezia 2019. Dr. Heather Igloliorte considers what this may mean for Isuma, as well as Inuit art more broadly, by examining the impact that this international platform has had on the lives and careers of other Indigenous artists.

Indigenous Art on a Global Stage


For over a century, Venice, Italy, has been host to biennales of art, as well as architecture, cinema, dance, music and theatre. The Giardini Pubblici, a lushly forested park, featuring numerous national pavilions located in the southeast of Venice and built under Napoleon Bonaparte at the beginning of the nineteenth century, is host to alternating annual festivals of art and architecture. Beginning in 1980 with the 1st International Architecture Exhibition, a second major venue was added to the Biennale, the Arsenale di Venezia, a massive complex of armaments and shipyard warehouses repurposed into exhibition spaces.1 Exhibiting in either of these main venues or numerous other key sites across the city during the Biennale can play a critical role in shaping an artists’ career, catapulting nationally acclaimed artists into global recognition. Having already contributed so much to the film and video landscape, including making groundbreaking documentaries, television and feature films, creating their own online open-access platform for sharing theirs and other Indigenous films and showing their work in theatres as well as festivals, galleries and art fairs such as documenta 11 and 14, Isuma is no stranger to international recognition. And yet, what are the implications of having Isuma, a communitybased, principally Inuktitut-language video art collective based in Iglulik, NU, represent Canada at arguably the world’s most visible and scrutinized international art event? To put this opportunity into a national and international artistic context, I asked other global Indigenous artists, curators and arts professionals from Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Greenland to share their past experiences of exhibiting in Venice and to reflect on what it has meant for their careers and creative development in the present.2 It is no coincidence that these countries, which share similar histories of settler-colonialism and which have been grappling with these difficult histories in the present, have all, in recent decades, begun to select Indigenous artists to represent them at what many consider to be the world’s foremost art festival. “This should be the core that

Edward Poitras Untitled 1995 Mixed-media installation COURTESY CANADIAN MUSEUM OF HISTORY


Lori Blondeau Grace 2007 Documentation of performance in Venice COURTESY THE ARTIST PHOTO SHELLEY NIRO

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

“Indigenous art is now received on a different level because of the rigorous work and worth of many generations.” —

to honour the late artist Harry Fonseca (who participated in Mithlo’s first project).” As Blondeau explains, “There was a group consensus not to pay to become an official collateral project; it was more grassroots in nature. Being away from the gardens actually gave us the advantage of having more local people come.” Blondeau distinctly appreciates the perspective of Venetian audiences, whom she felt were receptive despite any language or cultural divides. “Grace is about life and death, the beginning and end, and time, and how the time we keep in the Western world is not the time we keep in the Indigenous world. The audience got it.” Considering Isuma’s representation at the Biennale, she notes, “When Edward [Poitras] and Rebecca [Belmore] showed there, it was such a huge thing, I remember. And now Isuma is there too. I think it is important to recognize them like this because of the great work they do. Not only in what they produce, but also the way they involve the whole community in their work.” Jordan Bennett, a Mi’kmaq multimedia artist from Ktaqamkuk (Newfoundland), exhibited the installation ice fishing (2014) in the 2015 Biennale. To experience the work, you must enter through a recreated ice fishing shack; through that portal you are transported to the frozen lake behind Bennett’s family home, both through an evocative video work and, convincingly, through the ice fishing holes that appear to have been drilled with an ice auger directly into the gallery floor. Inside the holes audiences can peer into the watery depths below, waiting for a bite. The lines on the fishing poles even jump when a fish nibbles on the line—and the appearance of fish swimming up to the holes made visitors to the seemingly floating city startle at the sight. ice fishing showed in Venice as a part of a two-person show with Anne Troake, titled Under the Surface, organized by the not-for-profit Terra Nova Art Foundation. It was a first for Bennett and for his people. “When I [was] selected I was really excited—first, because I was probably the first Mi’kmaq artist to show on any level at Venice, not to mention a young Newfoundlander—but I was really excited when ice fishing was selected, because I wanted to show perspectives of home on the world stage.” Bennett vehemently believes that showing in Venice is impactful on artists careers and creative trajectories. “It does so much, and not just for the nation or community being exhibited. While everyone in Canada supports the Canadian artist, for Indigenous peoples, they’re not only representing Canada, they’re also repping all of us.”

we are putting forward,” explains Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, at OCAD University and co-curator of The Requickening Project (2007). “Indigenous art is now received on a different level because of the rigorous work and worth of many generations. Acknowledgement also comes through a form of reparation [and] comprehension that the sovereignty of our languages, arts, knowledges and practices have endured and remain vital, current and critical.” What follows is not a comprehensive overview of all the Indigenous artists who have shown in Venice, but a closer look at some projects and individuals whose experiences provide insights into what this might mean for Isuma, and for Inuit artists more broadly. All set against the backdrop of an event that is equal parts prestige and spectacle, where the city’s population doubles in size during preview week with crowds of wealthy patrons and artists alike. As artist Lori Blondeau explains, the Biennale “is Carnivale for visual artists.” Within a Canadian context, only Rebecca Belmore in 2005 and before her Edward Poitras in 1995—curated by Gerald McMaster, the first Indigenous curator from Canada to have worked in Venice— had presented solo exhibitions in the Canada Pavilion of the Giardini prior to Isuma, while other notable Canadian Indigenous artists and collaborative projects have been shown in the Arsenale venue and elsewhere in the city. “Showing in Venice is an opportunity to mobilize and insert our practices, creativity and bodies within an established and somewhat shifting global dialogue or cultural economy,” says Rice. “Our presence addresses recognition and indicates our arrival in spaces where we were not included, known or welcome.” Following the projects by Poitras and Belmore, Rice co-curated The Requickening Project with Chiricahua Apache curator and academic Nancy Mithlo, which featured Cree/Métis/Saulteaux performance artist Lori Blondeau and Mohawk photographer and filmmaker Shelley Niro. The project stemmed from Mithlo’s longstanding and dedicated efforts to exhibit Indigenous artists in Venice, which spans two decades, beginning with the 1999 exhibition Ceremonial and, most recently, featuring the exhibition Wah.shka in 2017. The Requickening Project ran for five consecutive days and featured a sunrise and sunset performance by Blondeau each day, Grace (2007), followed by a screening of Niro’s Tree (2006) each evening. Rice explains: “Our project emanated from the Haudenosaunee philosophy of ‘requickening,’ to bring back spirit; we also took the opportunity



Vantage Point

nations before contact through to the first arrival of Cook’s tall ship and the encounters that must have followed, acted out by the living descendants of those nations. Given the monumentality of the work, it is no surprise this work of great historical accuracy took Reihana over a decade to complete. Reflecting on the significance of showing in Venice, but also on representing her people in this context, Reihana is quick to acknowledge the high level of support she received to do so. “It was amazing to share this important moment with whānāu, friends and the incredible supporters who helped bring it to fruition, of which Creative New Zealand played a vital part.” Since its presentation in Venice, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] has toured to additional inter­ national venues and will continue to be presented well into the 2020s. The piece, Reihana says is, “about the community of people in it, who worked on it and are represented by in Pursuit of Venus [infected]. It has made many people from home, indeed worldwide extremely proud, and for those that were unfamiliar with Māori and Pacific peoples, this has piqued their curiosity.” In addition to Reihana, Tracey Moffatt’s My Horizon took over the Australian Pavilion in 2017. While many Australian Indigenous artists have participated in group exhibitions, notably Rover Thomas and Trevor Nickolls in 1990, Hetti Perkins, Victoria Lynn and Brenda L. Croft in 1997, followed by Vernon Ah Kee in 2009, Moffatt is the first solo artist featured within the austere pavilion. The exhibition featured two large-scale photo series and two video works that draw on cinematic tropes from Old Hollywood, film noir and documentary to reveal complex histories of Indigenous and migrant experiences in Australia. “Being there and hearing from the artist [Moffatt] herself, someone who not only had been influential in my connection to and understanding of art, but has also been an important figure in Australian art, made the reality of an Aboriginal artist taking over the Australian Pavilion a real possibility and made it within reach,” says Yorta Yorta curator Kimberley Moulton, Senior Curator South Eastern Aboriginal Collections at Museums Victoria. “Seeing the fearless approach Moffatt and curator Natalie King took to highlighting Aboriginal and Refugee Rights on a world stage inspired me to think how our people can continue to hold space at the Biennale in the future. What can that look like? How do we have agency and create a culturally safe and powerful space within that world?” In 2012 Greenlandic artist Bolatta Silis-Høegh was invited to create a domestic installation of a “Greenlandic home, showing Greenlandic history, development, presence and future” to be included

This is all the more significant given that Indigenous artists have only recently begun to take up such international contemporary art spaces. “In Venice, it shows people who don’t have any knowledge of Indigenous peoples that we are here, now, making groundbreaking work. They [international audiences] are used to thinking of us in the past tense—like, oh the Mi’kmaq people did this in the past, they used to make that—and now they see that we are here, representing all of Turtle Island in the present.” Likewise, in the United States, a small number of Indigenous artists and curators have been pushing against the often rigid boundaries of the Biennale for decades as well.3 Indeed, Mithlo is currently writing a whole book, A/Part of This World: Indigenous Curation at the Venice Biennale, on the subject of her Native American exhibitions in Venice alone. During the 2017 Biennale, Zuecca Projects, a non-profit cultural organization founded by Alessandro Possati, organized INDIAN WATER – The Native American Pavilion, featuring artists Nicholas Galanin and Oscar Tuazon; this year they are continuing in their efforts to feature artists from across Turtle Island in their pavilion, inviting Alan Michelson, Nadia Myre and Jeff Thomas as part of the exhibition Volume 0. Additionally, artists from New Zealand and Australia as well as other circumpolar communities have begun showing on this international platform. Lisa Reihana, a Māori artist of Ngāpuhi descent, represented New Zealand when she exhibited in the Tese dell’Isolotto building of the central Arsenale complex in 2017. The exhibition Lisa Reihana: Emissaries, featured a single, painstakingly crafted and deeply moving work, in Pursuit of Venus [infected]—a 23.5 metre long by 3.3 metre high projected video with soundscape that takes the form of a living wallpaper, based on the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (1804–5), which imagines the Indigenous peoples Captain Cook encountered on his voyages in the South Pacific. “Participating in the Venice Biennale builds your profile and your resilience like nothing else,” explains Reihana. “It’s a major logistical undertaking, and the pressure is on to deliver a great work. There’s a Nation’s noise that surrounds the event and endless meetings at all levels from creative to media to catalogue design. I’d shown my first cut of in Pursuit of Venus [infected], and felt reassured I had a good work to present, but I wanted to upgrade it and contextualize the content with additional photos and sculptures.” The finished work is both an astounding technical feat and an insightful and nuanced masterwork on the complex narrative of colonial contact between Cook’s crew and Pacific Islanders. The “wallpaper” seamlessly scrolls, first depicting scenes from the many

Tracey Moffatt Heaven (from the series Passages) 2017 Digital print 102 × 153 cm COURTESY ROSLYN OXLEY9 GALLERY

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019



Jordan Bennett ice fishing (still) 2014 Video 9 min 30 sec

Installation of Lisa Reihana’s in Pursuit of Venus [Infected] (2015) in Lisa Reihana: Emissaries, New Zealand Pavilion, Venice, Italy, 2017





Vantage Point

The selection of Isuma to represent Canada makes a bold statement about where we are as a country today and where we want to be. —

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

in the Danish Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale the same year. “A home with warmth, a lot of family photos, relaxingly unpretentious and a contrast to the Architecture Biennale.” The interior of the installation, titled Ningiu, meaning grandmother, relayed the chronological history of its imaginary female inhabitant by a progression of photographic documentation that traced traditional life on the land through to having children and grandchildren, including various landmarks from Christmas celebrations to graduations, travels and more. The project provided the artist an opportunity to shift larger perspectives of Greenlandic culture and identity. “I loved telling a whole story like that, the warmth showing the importance of family in our culture throughout the changes of scenery. The rapid change in culture, but also how quickly we adapted to new surroundings holding hands with our culture, which I think is so beautiful.” During the 2015 preview week, when thousands of artists, reporters and art cognoscenti descend on Venice en masse, Bennett was visited by then Associate Publisher of the Inuit Art Quarterly William Huffman, who brought him a copy of the most recent issue and interviewed him on the potential for future inclusion of Inuit artists in Venice. “They asked me, ‘Can you imagine an Inuit artist representing Canada at the Venice Biennale?’ And I said, ‘Most definitely, hopefully I will see that in my lifetime’.” At the following Biennale, the work of Inuk graphic artist Kananginak Pootoogook, RCA (1935–2010) was included in the Arsenale venue group exhibition Viva Arte Viva (2017), making him the first to hold that honour, albeit posthumously. Now, only two years on, Zacharias Kunuk, OC becomes the second Inuk to represent Canada as one of the co-founders of Isuma alongside Norman Cohn, though this time at the official Canada Pavilion. Although, as Rice notes, it is a bit of a risk for Canada to position Isuma—a film collective led by Kunuk and Cohn, located in a remote community a world away from the ostentatious stage of Venice—as the representative for Canadian contemporary art. “Such recognition supports Canada’s distinct national identity and creative force. It sets a precedent for other museums and galleries to shift their prejudices and value the enormous wealth of our cultures that are distinct, specific, authentic and original to our land and nowhere else.” The selection of Isuma to represent Canada makes a bold statement about where we are as a country today and where we want to be. Ultimately, this choice has nothing to do with current discourses of “reconciliation,” and yet their work has everything to do with the history of colonization. By giving Isuma a global platform from which to untangle the brutal truth about the history of contact between Inuit and qallunaat, the National Gallery of Canada and the Biennale’s team of curators open space for the frank and urgent conversations we need to have about the ongoing legacies of colonialism and paternalism in the Arctic, while showing the world that we are not afraid to break down the myth of Canada and the North in order to move forward together.

Bolatta Silis-Høegh Ningiu 2012 Mixed-media installation COURTESY THE ARTIST


The Giardini pavilions include those of Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, United States of America, Denmark, Venice, Austria, Greece, Israel, Switzerland, Venezuela, Japan, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, Australia, Korea and the Nordic Pavilion (Sweden, Norway and Finland). The Arsenale currently host the National Pavilions of Albania, Argentina, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Croatia, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Georgia, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Republic of Kosovo, Latvia, Republic of North Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Republic of Slovenia, Republic of South Africa, Tunisia and Turkey. 2 All quotes in this article are from personal communications with the author in February 2019, unless otherwise indicated. 3 In addition to projects by Mithlo, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has supported collateral projects with performance artist James Luna and painter Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds. 1



Vantage Point

Late Works, New Visions: Picturing Kananginak Pootoogook — by Robert Kardosh

In 2017 Kananginak Pootoogook, RCA (1935–2010) became the first Inuit artist in history to have his work shown at the Venice Biennale. His drawn and printed portraits of a culture caught between traditional and modern influences challenged southern stereotypes about the North, expanding the concept of what Inuit art could be. With his drawings, many of them produced during the last two years of his life, Pootoogook left a significant archive of expression from an era that saw him produce some of his most ambitious—and most personal—artistic statements, and their relevance is still felt today.

In an artistic career that spanned five decades, Kananginak Pootoogook produced a vital and important body of work. An original member of the small cadre of Inuit printmakers who were instrumental in starting the first northern print shop in Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU, in the late 1950s, Pootoogook became one of northern Canada’s most important artists, pioneering a style of graphic narrative realism that differed markedly from the more abstract fantastical modes practiced by the majority of the commu­ nity’s early drawers. Although never the subject of a retrospective at a major Canadian institution, his prints and drawings have been featured in numerous survey exhibitions of Inuit art since the 1960s, and many public institutions in Canada have collected his work over the years and decades. In 2017 Pootoogook became the first Inuit artist to be featured at the Venice Biennale, arguably the world’s most important contemporary art event.1 Many of the works that were selected for the exhibition Viva Arte Viva were drawings that Pootoogook had produced within the last two years of his life when his practice had undergone something of a transformation. During this time, Pootoogook gave new expression to themes that had long been a central concern in his work, producing fresh twists on familiar motifs alongside more current interests. In some of these works, Pootoogook began picturing a world much closer in time to the present—one that included terrestrial and marine transportation as well as tender community and self-portraits. One of his most impressive drawings is a work from 2009 that bears the inscribed title “Successful walrus hunt.” Pootoogook appended explanatory inscriptions in syllabics to the bottom edges of all of his drawings. Measuring two and a half metres in length, the coloured pencil image pictures a group of Inuit hunters in a wooden boat viewed from above against a multicoloured background of sea and sky. One man sits in the stern, his left hand placed on the tiller, while the right one holds a pipe to his lips. Another kneels in the bow, blowing into an inflatable sealskin float, and a third man sits aft

Inuit Art Quarterly


Kananginak Pootoogook (1935–2010 Kinngait) — Untitled (Taking pictures of the bowhead whale) 2009 Coloured pencil and ink 121.9 × 243.9 cm ALL IMAGES REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS AND COURTESY MARION SCOTT GALLERY

of midship, taking a rest and sipping tea, a metal kettle visible at his side. A fourth crew member is busy cutting up large pieces of walrus meat, while a fifth man leans over the boat’s edge to examine something. With this remarkable drawing, Pootoogook reprised his familiar role as cultural historian and documentarian on a monumental scale, presenting an iconic image of Inuit culture in a transitional phase. In a second similarly scaled drawing, Pootoogook has turned his attention to the present day, portraying a group of boaters pursuing some surfacing bowhead whales over an open stretch of calm sea. The aluminum boats, with their modern steering wheels, glass windscreens and outboard motors, are clearly contemporary in design, as is the brightly coloured gear worn by the men on board. The image features many of the artist’s most recognizable formal trademarks. These include the darkened silhouettes of the boats and their crews ranged out toward the distant horizon and their abstract reflections on the water’s shimmering surface. Audaciously, Pootoogook presents the scene as a vast cross section, allowing the viewer to see both above and below the ocean’s surface. Masterfully rendered and conceived, this work was inspired by the first legal bowhead whale hunt to take place in a hundred years, near Kinngait in 2009.2 Significantly, Pootoogook’s drawing doesn’t actually focus on the hunting activity itself. Spears and harpoons are visible in the hands of some of the participants, but instead our attention is directed to a figure on the foredeck of the boat nearest to us, in whose right hand appears not a weapon, but a digital camcorder. Reinforcing the point, the penciled inscription reads “Taking pictures of the bowhead whale.” Pootoogook’s interest in representing the role of photographic media in the North is here expressed in a colossally enlarged format, simultaneously recording and memorializing a culturally affirming moment in his community’s contemporary collective life as well as its digital documentation. Along with several other works from this late period, these two drawings were first shown publically in a solo exhibition at the Marion Scott Gallery, during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.


Summer 2019


Installation view of works by Kananginak Pootoogook in Viva Arte Viva, Venice, Italy, 2017 PHOTO ITALO RONDINELLA


Untitled (He thinks he has run out of gas, but the engine is shot) 2009 Coloured pencil and ink 55.9 × 76.2 cm

Pootoogook’s interest in representing the role of photographic media in the North is here re-expressed in a colossally enlarged format, simultaneously recording and memorializing a culturally affirming moment in his community’s contemporary collective life as well as its digital documentation.


In 2015 Untitled (Successful walrus hunt) was installed at the Brooklyn Museum in New York as part of Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas, an exhibition that featured a range of contemporary and pre-historic Indigenous works from North and South America. It was here that Christine Macel, Chief Curator of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France, and the Artistic Director of the 2017 Venice Biennale, encountered Pootoogook’s expression for the first time. “What impressed me was the point of view from above, quite unusual,” Macel recalls.3 “And the documentary style of the drawing in such a big scale, which reminded me of Bruegel the Elder, with so many details about the everyday life of Inuit.” Macel decided then and there to include Pootoogook’s work in the upcoming show. “Pootoogook’s drawings are a testimony, without judgment, of a turning point, about the quick changes in lifestyle and balance in the Inuit community.” For Macel, the profound changes Pootoogook documents in his drawings, while specific to Inuit culture, speak to a global condition in which Indigenous societies around the world have been subjected to the disruptive and threatening pressures of colonialism. This expression made a similar impression on Fiona Parry, the Senior Curator at the Turner Contemporary in Kent, England, who, after seeing the shown in Venice, made arrangements to borrow three of the works for the exhibition Animals & Us (2016). Pootoogook’s posthumous success, played out on a global stage, is giving his vision a lasting and much deserved audience, adding to his already substantial legacy. Another drawing from 2009 shows a man on a Ski-Doo, erecting it on its runners, presumably for protection against the bumpy ride. Although the rider wears traditionally styled garments, including kamiik (boots) and fur pants, the machine he drives is clearly contemporary in make and design, quite unlike the vintage models pictured in some of the artist’s earlier mechanical drawings. The inscription below states, “He has a caribou’s hind leg and he’s afraid of losing it.”


Late Works New Visions

That these works are being seen and appreciated in places far from his Arctic homeland is a testament both to their expressive power and the artist’s ability to speak to the central issues of our time. —

Another shows a man sitting beside his red four-wheeler ATV. In contrast to the dynamism of the first image, the action here has come to a forced standstill. The man’s expression is one of tired dejection. The artist tells us why: “He thinks he has run out of gas, but the engine is shot.” What makes these images so engaging is the way they express Pootoogook’s particular manner of observing human behaviour, which often reflects a kind of amused detachment. That the drawing of the man with his stalled ATV, an image of modern mechanical failure, is also likely a self-portrait only heightens the effect, with the artist chuckling at his own misfortune and helplessness. In a later series of portraits produced in 2010, the artist pictures himself and his wife Shooyoo in the present or recent past. One image shows the couple standing together and smiling. We know from the framed print of one of Pootoogook’s own images hanging in the otherwise featureless background that they are indoors, yet their matching manufactured winter clothing and Pootoogook’s baseball cap imply that they are either just returning from an outing or preparing to leave. In another, he depicts them sitting happily together on a couch, looking out at the viewer as though they might be posing for a photo. Another drawing in the series features the couple sipping mugs of tea on the ground, while enjoying some country food, and one shows Shooyoo laying alone on a grassy slope, eating crackers and drinking tea, the grass beneath and the scarf tied over her head both caught in the breeze. These are all moving artworks. Here, the artist’s main purpose is to express his affectionate devotion to his life partner, showing us moments in which they are simply enjoying each other’s company. It is the identities of the individuals that matter most in these images, more so than whatever they happen to be doing (or not doing, as the case may be). A quality of Pootoogook’s work that is reinforced by the heightened realism in his subject’s faces, revealing a more subtle use of modelling than in his earlier drawings. In his effort to document the influence of colonization and of the intruders in their midst, Pootoogook made several drawings that portray outsiders taking pictures and videos of Inuit subjects. In two portraits from 2010, the artist returns to this theme, this time documenting the adoption of photographic technology by Inuit themselves as opposed to its prevalence among southern visitors. In one, a figure presses a small camera to his face, pointing the lens at a large black-and-yellow bumblebee in the foreground, who is taking


Untitled (Shooyoo and Kananginak) 2010 Coloured pencil and ink 50.8 × 66 cm RIGHT

Untitled (Shooyoo taking a tea break while berry picking) 2010 Coloured pencil and ink 50.8 × 66 cm

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Untitled (Taking a photograph of a bumble bee) 2010 Coloured pencil and ink 50.8 × 66 cm

nourishment from a small cluster of flowers. The companion drawing That these works are being seen and appreciated in places far depicts a man in a white parka lying on some vegetated ground from his Arctic homeland is a testament both to their expressive and signaling with one hand to a standing figure, whom we see only power and to the artist’s ability to speak to the central issues of our through the mirrored reflection in the first figure’s sunglasses. In time. Pootoogook stated in a 2010 interview, “Today I feel more front of him, an arrangement of colourful flowers with large petals capable as an artist than I ever was.”5 At the same time, as his selfis spread before us. One of the most curious works in his oeuvre, portraits and portraits attest, Pootoogook did not always feel the Pootoogook explained that he got the idea for the flowers from a need to make art that principally illustrated a culture or way of life. printed floral pattern on a box of Kleenex. Pootoogook did what all great artists do: he made art about a range Pootoogook’s most revolutionary self-portrait is a drawing from of subjects that he found interesting and that mattered to him. This 2009, in which the artist is pictured putting the finishing touches freedom to create exactly what he wanted, unconstrained by any on a drawing of either a dog or a wolf. All we see of Pootoogook is the narrow definitions of Inuit art, may prove to be his most important top his head, seen from the back, and his hands, one of which holds and enduring legacy. a pen, while the other holds the paper in place. As an image of the artist at work, the spare drawing, with its innovative cropping and dramatic perspective, cleverly documents Pootoogook’s lifelong vocation as a draughtsman. At the same time, this sophisticated image of a drawing within a drawing is resonant with contemporary investigations into the nature and role of artistic representation, highlighting the relevance of Pootoogook’s practice and his ability to contribute to multiple debates in a single work. The shift in Pootoogook’s work toward reflecting a more contemporary version of Inuit culture may have been inspired by the impact of his younger relatives: his nephew Itee Pootoogook (1951–2014) and his niece Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016). According to William Ritchie, the current Studio Manager at the print shop in NOTES Kinngait, Pootoogook had recently resumed drawing in the studio Robert Kardosh thanks Bradin Cormack, Christine Macel, Jimmy Manning, alongside some of the younger artists after several years of working William Ritchie and Marnie Schreiber. almost exclusively from home. “He enjoyed being part of the new — scene,” Ritchie says. Moreover, he was probably simply ready for a 1 Inuit artists were included in projects from Greenland and Canada in the 2012 and 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale respectively. new challenge. As the artist himself once declared, “I get tired doing 2 the same thing all the time.” In the case of his portraits of Shooyoo Nearly hunted to extinction by commercial whalers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Nunavut’s bowhead whale population has recovered and himself, Jimmy Manning, the artist’s close friend and former sufficiently to allow limited hunts by the various Inuit communities in Qikiqtaaluk Studio Manager during much of Pootoogook’s career, believes that (Baffin Island) and elsewhere. These harvesting events, which are authorized by the territorial and federal governments, have become important expressions something else was also at play. “I think he must have known at the time that he was starting to get sick, and that his time was limited,” 3 of Indigenous culture for the communities that undertake them. Correspondence with the author, July 17, 2018. Manning says.4 “He was becoming aware of his own mortality, and 4 Telephone interview with the author, January 17, 2019. he was thinking fondly of his wife and the people around him.” 5 Ingo Hessel, ed., Kananginak Pootoogook: celebrating five decades of artistic Seen in this light, these images attain an even deeper poignancy. achievement (Toronto: Museum of Inuit Art, 2010).



Late Works New Visions

ᓛᑎᓇ ᐊᑦᑖᕐᔪᐊᖅ ᒪᒃᑭᐅᑉ ᑎᑎᕋᖅᑕᖓ

ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᓂᖅ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ: ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᕐᓂᖅ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᓕᕆᓂᕐᓗ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒥᑦ

by Blandina Attaarjuaq Makkik

Remembering Our Ways: Film and Culture in Iglulik

In the early 1980s, television arrived in Iglulik, NU, after much hesitancy from residents concerned over the primarily English-language content. It was in this environment that both Isuma, and later Arnait Video Productions, were formed to capture, document and present a distinctly local Inuit worldview. In this Feature, the revolutionary impact of both collectives is explored through their diverse bodies of work that, together, have significantly contributed to the revitalization of culture and language by harnessing the power of film to retain, recall and preserve collective memory.

I recently watched an episode of Scottish comedian Billy Connolly’s Journey to the Edge of the World (2009), a Northwest Passage travel series. This particular episode featured Connolly visiting the Nunavut communities of Iqaluit, Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), Iglulik and Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). The teaser for the show on a popular website stated that Connolly “goes on a stomach-churning seal hunt with an Inuit family.” While in Iqaluit, he visits the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and views a historical film. Sitting next to him in the compact theatre is a middle-aged Inuk man. Connolly narrates that Inuit depicted in the film are happy, healthy and fit and bask in their environment. He is then shown observing the current vista and Inuit of Iqaluit, proclaiming sadly that he cannot say that is the case today. In the conclusion of the episode, referring back to the moment in the museum, Connolly pities the Inuit man also watching the film, and laments that the only recourse left to contemporary Inuit to experience authentic and traditional culture is through historical film. Having witnessed the Arctic landscape, having experienced the hospitality of his Inuit hosts and having been welcomed into their culture, I find it curious that Connolly chooses to conclude the episode by voicing such a negative sentiment. However, I am not surprised. He is not the first transient visitor to presume they are witness to the death of a proud and ancient culture. Culture is not static. Inuit have been adapting to the changes around us for millennia, retaining skills, traditional laws and values deemed essential and imparting them onto preceding generations. Until very recently, spoken language had been the only method of preserving our history, songs, poetry and more. For Inuit, the introduction of the written word and other means of storing knowledge have all been vital to keeping remembered history and aspects of culture and traditions alive. In Iglulik, the use of film has been the most successful and effective medium for contemporary Inuit to capture, document and present our culture and worldview. I was teaching kindergarten when television finally arrived to Iglulik in the fall of 1984. The community had previously held two plebiscites, and I was one of those voting each time to reject the introduction of television, objecting to the fact that the content was going to be entirely in English. When Inuktitut programming was finally included, the community consented to television’s introduction. In my classroom I had first hand experience of the power and insidiousness of this medium.


Spread from Inuit Broadcasting Corporation 1982–1992: Ten Years of Inuktitut Television (1992) OPPOSITE

Filming a camping scene outside of Iqaluit, NU, 1988 PHOTO BLANDINA ATTAARJUAQ MAKKIK

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

ᑕᓕᖅᐱ ᐊᔾᔨᓕᐅᕆᔪᑦ ᐊᐅᓪᓛᖅᓯᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᕗᑦ ᓯᓚᑖᓂᑦ, 1988 ᐊᔾᔨ ᓛᑎᓇ ᒪᒃᑭᒃ

1980ᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ

ᖃᖓᑦᑎᐊᓵᖅ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᓚᐅᕋᒪ ᐃᔪᕐᓇᖅᑎᐅᑉ ᓯᑲᑦᓯᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᐱᓕ ᑳᓇᓕᐅᑉ ᓄᐃᑕᖓ ᐊᐅᓪᓛᕐᓂᖅ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᑉ ᑭᒡᓕᖓᓄᑦ (2009), ᐃᑳᕋᓱᖕᓂᒥᑦ ᑕᕆᐅᕐᒥᑦ ᑕᕆᔭᐅᓯᐊᑦ. ᑕᑯᓐᓇᖅᑕᕋ ᑳᓇᓕ ᐳᓚᕋᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᖃᓗᓐᓄᑦ,ᐸᖕᓂᖅᑑᕐᒧᑦ, ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒧᑦ ᒥᑦᑎᒪᑕᓕᖕᒧᓪᓗ. ᖃᕆᑕᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᐅᓯᒪᓪᓗᓂ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᒃᓴᖅ “ᑳᓇᓕᒎᖅ ᓇᑦᑎᕋᓱᒃᑐᓂᒃ ᐃᓚᐅᕗᖅ, ᓈᕐᒧᒡᒎᖅ ᐃᖢᐊᕐᓇᖏᑦᑐᒻᒪᕆᐊᓗᒃ ᑕᐅᑐᒃᓗᒍ”. ᐃᖃᓗᖕᓂᓕ ᓄᓇᑦᑕ ᓱᓇᒃᑯᑖᖓᓂᑦ ᑕᑯᔭᒐᖃᕐᕕᖕᒥᑦ ᐃᓄᖑᐊᓂᑦ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᖅᐳᖅ. ᓴᓂᐊᓂ ᐊᖑᑦ ᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᐃᒃᓯᕚᖅᐳᖅ. ᑳᓇᓕ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᐳᖅ ᑕᐃᓱᒪᓂᓴᐃᒡᒎᖅ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᖅᑕᖏᑦ, ᖁᕕᐊᓱᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᑦ, ᐃᓅᓯᖃᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᑦ ᐊᕙᓗᒥᓂᒡᓗ ᐃᓂᖃᑦᑎᐊᑦᑐᑦ. ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᓕᕆᓪᓗᓂ ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖓᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᖏᓐᓂᒡᓗ ᑕᐅᑐᒃᖢᓂ, ᐃᓄᐃᒎᖅ ᐅᓪᓗᒥ ᑕᐃᒪᐃᙱᑦᑎᐊᓕᖅᑐᑦ. ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᑉ ᓄᙳᐊᓂᑦ ᑳᓇᓕ ᐅᖃᓕᖅᖢᓂ, ᐊᖑᑦ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᖃᑎᒋᓚᐅᖅᑕᓂ ᐅᒡᒍᕆᓪᓗᓂᐅᒃ ᒫᓐᓇᐅᔪᕉᖅ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᒥᓂᒃ ᐳᐃᒍᐃᓗᐊᒧᑦ ᑭᓯᐊᓂᒎᖅ ᐃᑦᑕᕐᓂᓴᕐᓂᒃ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᕐᓗᑎ ᐃᖅᑳᕐᔪᒍᓐᓇᖅᐳᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᕕᓂᕐᒥᓂᒃ. ᑕᒡᕙ ᑲᔾᔮᕐᓇᖅᑐᓪᓛᓗᖕᒦᖢᓂ, ᐃᓄᖕᓂᑦ ᑐᙵᓱᒃᑎᑕᐅᑎᐊᖅᓯᒪᓪᓗᓂᓗ ᑲᒪᒋᒻᒪᕆᒃᐸᕋ ᓄᒫᖅᓇᖅᑐᒥᑦ ᐅᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂᒃ. ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏᑦ ᑲᒪᒋᖕᒋᑕᒃᑲ. ᓯᕗᓪᓕᐅᖏᒻᒪᑦ ᐳᓛᖅᑎᓂᒃ ᑕᐃᒫᒃ ᐅᖃᕆᐊᒃᓴᖅ, ᐃᓄᐃᒡᒎᖅ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖏᑦ ᐳᐃᒍᖅᑕᐅᖕᒪᑕ ᐅᑎᕈᒥᓇᖏᓪᓗᑎᒡᓗ. ᐃᓅᓂᖅ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖏᓪᓗ ᓄᖅᑳᖔᖅᐸᖏᒻᒪᑦ. ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᐃᒪᖓᓂᒃ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᔪᓂᒃ ᖃᖓᓕᒫᑦ ᒪᓕᒃᐸᖕᒪᑕ. ᐱᖁᔭᑐᖃᐃᑦ, ᐊᑐᕐᓂᖃᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᑐᖃᐃᑦ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᔪᑦ ᐳᐃᒍᖅᑕᐅᕙᒃᐸᙱᒻᒪᑕ, ᑭᖑᕚᕆᔭᐅᔪᓄᓪᓗ ᐊᐃᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᕙᒃᖢᑎᒃ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᔭᕌᖓᒥᒃ. ᖃᖓᑦᑎᐊᓵᖅᓂᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓰᓐᓇᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᒥᓂᒃ ᐃᙱᐅᓯᒥᓂᒃ, ᐅᓂᑳᒥᓂᒃ ᐊᓯᐊᓗᖏᓐᓂᒡᓗ ᐳᐃᒍᖅᓯᒪᙱᓚᑦ. ᐃᓄᖕᓄᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖅ ᑎᑎᕋᑕᐅᓯᒪᓕᕐᓂᖓ, ᐅᖃᐅᓯᐅᓪᓗ ᐊᓯᐊᒍᑦ ᐃᖃᐅᒪᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐸᐸᔾᔪᑏᑦ ᐃᑲᔪᕐᓂᖃᕕᒡᔪᐊᖅᓯᒪᕗᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᓂᒃ ᐱᖁᓯᓂᑦ ᐳᐃᒍᐃᔾᔭᐃᓂᕐᒧᑦ. ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒥᓪᓕ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᕐᓂᖅ ᐃᒪᓐᓇᒻᒪᕆᐊᓗᒃ ᐃᑲᔪᕐᓂᖃᕕᔪᐊᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ. ᐃᖅᑲᐃᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐳᐃᒍᐃᔭᐃᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᒥᓂᒃ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᑎᑦᑎᓂᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᖕᒥᓄᑦ ᐊᓯᒥᖕᓄᓪᓗ. ᐅᑭᐊᒃᓵᒃᑯᑦ 1984ᖑᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ ᑕᓚᕖᓴᖅᑖᖅᑐᐊᓘᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᖕᒪᑦ. ᑕᐃᔅᓱᒪᓂᓕ ᒥᑭᓛᓂᑦ ᐃᓕᓴᐃᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᒐᒪ. ᒪᕐᕈᐃᖅᖢᑕ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒥᐅᑎᒍᑦ ᓂᕈᐊᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᒐᑦᑕ ᑕᓚᕖᓴᑖᕈᒪᓇᑕ. ᐊᖏᖏᖃᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᕗᖓ ᓂᕈᐊᕐᓇᐅᑎᓪᓗᒍ. ᐱᔪᒪᓚᐅᖏᓐᓇᑦᑕ ᖃᓗᓈᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅᑐᑦ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᔪᖃᖅᐸᖕᓂᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ. ᐊᓱᐃᓛᒎᖅ ᑐᓴᕐᓇᓕᕐᒪᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᔪᖃᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᐊᕐᓂᖓᓂᑦ ᐊᖏᓕᑕᐃᓐᓇᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒥᐅᑦ. ᐃᓕᓴᐃᔨᐅᓪᓗᖓ ᐅᔾᔨᕈᓱᑦᑎᐊᓚᐅᖅᐳᖓ ᑕᓚᕖᓴᐅᑉ ᐊᒃᑑᑎᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂᒃ ᐃᓅᓯᑦᑎᓐᓄᑦ. ᑕᖅᑭᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᓈᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᓕᓴᖅᑕᑯᓗᑲ 5ᓂᒃ 6ᓂᒡᓗ ᐅᑭᐅᓖᑦ, ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅᐸᒃᑐᑦ ᖃᓗᓈᑎᑐᑦ ᐃᙱᑲᑕᓕᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᖃᑦᑕᖅᑕᒥᓂᒃ ᐃᔾᔪᐊᕐᓂᑯᒧᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᕈᓐᓇᑦᑎᐊᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐅᓗᒃᑯᑦ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᕙᒃᑐᕈᓗᖕᓂᑦ ᐱᓗᐊᖑᐊᖅᐸᒃᑐᕈᓗᖕᓂᑦ. ᐊᓃᕋᔭᖕᓇᐅᓕᕌᖓᓪᓗ ᐅᓇᑕᙳᐊᖅᑐᐊᓘᕙᓕᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐃᔾᔪᐊᖅᓯᓗᐊᒧᑦ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᖃᑦᑕᖅᑕᒥᓂᒃ ᐅᓇᑕᙳᐊᖅᑎᓂᒃ. ᐊᕌᒍᖅ ᓇᑉᐸᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏᑦ ᖃᓪᓗᓇᐅᔭᕐᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐃᓚᓕᐅᑎᓯᒪᓕᕇᓚᐅᖅᐳ. ᐊᕐᕌᒍᑦ ᐅᓄᖕᖏᑦᑐᒻᒪᕇᑦ ᖄᖏᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᑐᓴᐅᒪᓇᖅᓯᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ

ᑕᓚᕖᓴᖅᑕᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᖕᒪᑦ, ᓄᓇᓕᖕᒥᐅᑦ ᐱᔪᒪᑦᑎᐊᖅᓯᒪᓚᐅᕋᑎᒃ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᑑᖓᓗᐊᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᒐᒃᓴᐃᑦ. ᑕᐃᒪᐃᓐᓂᖓᓄᑦ, ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᑦ, ᑭᖑᓪᓕᐊᒍᓪᓗ ᐊᕐᓇᐃᑦ ᑕᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑏᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᕗᑦ, ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᑎᑦᑎᔪᒪᒧᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓂᙶᖅᑐᓂᑦ. ᐅᓇ ᑎᑎᕋᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᕋᓱᒃᐳᖅ ᖃᓄᖅ ᑖᒃᑯᐊᒃ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑏᑦ ᐃᑲᔪᒻᒪᕆᒃᓯᒪᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖏᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏᑦ ᐳᐃᒍᖅᑕᐅᖁᓇᒋᑦ.

ᐊᑭᐊ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᕋᑦᓴᓕᕆᔨᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ 1982–1992: ᖁᓕᐅᓕᖅᑐᑦ ᐊᕐᕌᒍᐃᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ ᑕᑯᕋᓐᓇᑎᑦᑎᓂᕐᒥᑦ (1992)



Remembering Our Ways



Madeline Piujuq Ivalu (b. 1942 Iglulik) Susan Angutautuq Avingaq (b. 1942 Iglulik) — Qulliq (Oil Lamp) (stills) 1993 Video 10 min

Madeline Piujuq Ivalu and Marie-Hélène Cousineau on the set of Before Tomorrow (2009) in Puvirnituq, QC COURTESY ARNAIT VIDEO PRODUCTIONS PHOTO OANA SPINU


a series of hardships after a strange attack devastates their camp. The film received the Best Canadian First Feature Film award at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Together, these Iglulingmiut filmmakers presented Inuit stories while advancing Inuit values through their own lenses and in their unique style. “I believe the medium of film is central to benefitting my traditions through keeping the culture engaging and living,” explains filmmaker and producer Lucy Tulugarjuk, who began working with Isuma in 1997.1 “The skills and techniques of the material part of our traditions are still there. The style of delivery may have changed, since we use recordings now; however, our purpose remains the same— to pass on information that is important to and for us.” Piujuq also believes that film is an invaluable tool to retain and recall memories. “We rely on memory still, as things were not written down,” she explains.2 “Creating film exercises our intellect, the process of filmmaking itself makes us remember how things were. We are sometimes even able to recapture language that is no longer in use today.” Filmmakers working in and around Iglulik have utilized this powerful medium to show the world our stories, share our values and offer glimpses into our rapidly changing society, both positive and negative. They have very effectively contributed to the revitalization of Inuit culture and language. Whether it be a demonstration of tending to a stone lamp, as in Piujuq and Angutautuq’s early work Qulliq (Oil Lamp) (1993), where they practice the skills required to maintain and care for a qulliq in the dead of winter. Showing us, in real time, the steps required to heat a snow house. What I and others of my age group had not realized was that there was a unique vocabulary dedicated only to the qulliq and its flames. We had lost the language of flames, perhaps now rekindled for some through this film. I do not hear Inuktitut spoken here in Toronto very often. In my case, the yearning and need to hear Inuktitut is sometimes a desire so strong that I turn to IsumaTV, where I can watch programs like Kingulliit: The Next Generation (1992). This film shows a meeting of elders, first describing songs, then recording them. The elders discuss the origin, composition, structure and poetry of songs—singing ancient Ajajaa songs, the harmony with the drum. Listening to Francois Quassa and his older brother George Kappianaq’s power of voice holds me emotionally spellbound. The intricacy of lyrics, composition and just plain trying to learn the songs restores my equilibrium for weeks. Another film I turn to is Attagutaaluk (Starvation) (1992), a story of survival against overwhelming odds captured as an interview with Iqallijuq Okkumaluk. She recounts the ordeal of Attagutaaluk, a legendary historical figure in Iglulik. Attagutaaluk, her family and another family are stranded for months far from the coast. Starvation ensues, until only Attagutaaluk is left. To survive for months alone during the brutal winter, she had to resort to eating the dead. Her rescuers, upon reaching their destination, proclaiming as they approached, “We bring one who has eaten meat,” as dictated to by custom. Coded language, instantly understood by the inhabitants of the camp, to prepare for formal and spiritual rituals to follow in these situations. For myself, again it is the exchange, the art of language between filmmaker and Iqallijuq, the pace of the unfolding

Within a month of receiving the magic dish, my students, fiveand six-year-old unilingual Inuktitut speakers, started singing and humming commercial jingles and could describe the antics of daytime soap opera characters in minute and lurid detail. During recess breaks, playing tag was replaced by aggressive and combative roughhousing, clearly in imitation of wrestling programs, witnessed on the small screen. Within six months, these young children were interspersing English with Inuktitut. In the space of just a few years there were already households where young parents were no longer speaking to their children in Inuktitut. The deceptively benign presence of television beamed an all-pervasive cultural assault and forceful encroachment of southern influence nonstop into our homes. The promised Inuktitut programming, albeit welcome, was hampered by production styles attempting to replicate southern approaches. While regional content was produced, it was often restricted and inhibited by directions from southern Canadian-based headquarters. The emergence of Igloolik Isuma Productions, co-founded in 1990 by Paul Apak Angilirq (1954–1998), Norman Cohn, Zacharias Saqqaliasi Kunuk, OC and Pauloosie Qulitalik (1939–2012), followed later by Arnait Video Productions (from the term arnait ikajurtigiit, meaning “women helping each other”) in 1991, founded by Atuat Akkitirq, Susan Angutautuq Avingaq, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Piujuq Ivalu and Carol Kunuk, was undeniably revolutionary within our community. Since Arnait’s formation, the collective has gone on to produce three feature-length films, eight medium-length works, eight shorts, two television series and numerous interviews, with three featurelength fiction and documentary films currently in production. From the early to mid-1990s, they captured community events, traditional practices and skills, as well as reinterpreted time-honoured stories through various technologies—including computer animation— before exploring more experimental fiction and documentaries. Set in 1840, the historical drama Before Tomorrow (2009), the group’s first feature-length project, follows Kuutujuuk (Mary Qulitalik) and Ningiuq (Madeline Piujuq Ivalu) and her grandson as they endure

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019

ᐊᑭᐊ ᒪᑎᓕᓐ ᐱᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᕙᓗ (ᐃ. 1942, ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ) ᓲᓴᓐ ᐊᖑᑕᐅᑦᑐᖅ ᐊᕕᖓᖅ (ᐃ. 1942, ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ) — ᖁᓪᓕᖅ (ᐊᔾᔨᖁᑎᑦ) 1993 ᐊᔾᔨᓕᐅᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ 10 ᒥᓂᔅᓯ

ᐃᓅᓂᖅ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖏᓪᓗ ᓄᖅᑳᖔᖅᐸᖏᒻᒪᑦ. ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᐃᒪᖓᓂᒃ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᔪᓂᒃ ᖃᖓᓕᒫᑦ ᒪᓕᒃᐸᖕᒪᑕ. ᐱᖁᔭᑐᖃᐃᑦ, ᐊᑐᕐᓂᖃᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᑐᖃᐃᑦ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᔪᑦ ᐳᐃᒍᖅᑕᐅᕙᒃᐸᙱᒻᒪᑕ, ᑭᖑᕚᕆᔭᐅᔪᓄᓪᓗ ᐊᐃᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᕙᒃᖢᑎᒃ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᔭᕌᖓᒥᒃ.

ᐊᑖᓂ ᒪᑎᓕᓐ ᐱᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᕙᓗ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᒪᕆ-ᐃᓕᓇ ᑰᓯᓄ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᖃᐅᓚᐅᖅᑎᓐᓇᒍᒥᑦ (2009) ᐳᕕᕐᓂᖅᑑᒥᑦ, ᑯᐸᐃᒃᒥᑦ ᐊᐃᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᐊᕐᓇᐃᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᓕᐅᕐᑎ ᐅᐊᓇ ᓯᐱᓄ

ᐊᐃᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ

ᒪᒃᑯᒃᑐᑦ ᐊᖓᔪᖄᖑᔪᑦ ᕿᑐᕐᖓᕐᒥᓄᒃ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᑎᑐᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᐅᖃᓪᓚᒃᐸᖕᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ. ᑖᓐᓇ ᑕᓚᕖᓴᖃᕐᓂ ᓄᖑᓱᐃᑦᑐᒥᒃ ᐊᖏᕐᕋᑦᑎᓐᓄᑦ ᖃᐅᑕᒫᑦ ᐊᑲᐅᓚᐅᖏᒻᒪᕆᒃᑐᖅ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᖅᓯᐅᑎᒻᒪᕆᖕᓂᒃ ᓴᖅᑭᔮᖅᑎᑦᑏᓐᓇᐅᔭᕐᓂᖓᓂᒃ. ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᖅᑐᑦ ᑕᑯᒥᓇᕋᓗᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪᑦᑕᐅᖅ ᒪᓕᑐᐃᓐᓇᖂᔨᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᓴᓇᓯᒪᓂᕐᒥᑎᒍᑦ ᐃᔾᔪᐊᖅᓯᒪᓚᐅᕐᒪᑕ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᑑᑦ ᐋᕿᖅᑕᐅᕙᒃᑐᓂᒃ. ᐊᓯᖏᑦᑕᐅᖅ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᓂᖔᖅᑐᑦ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑏᑦ ᐃᓱᒪᖅᓱᕐᓇᑎᒃ ᑕᑯᓴᐅᑎᑦᑐᒪᔭᒥᓂᒃ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᓂᑦ ᐊᖓᔪᖅᑳᒥᓂᒃ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᓃᑦᑐᓂᑦ ᒪᓕᒋᐊᖃᓗᐊᕐᓂᑯᒧᑦ. ᐃᓱᒪᑯᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᓐᓂᖓᑦ 1990ᒥᑦ, ᐱᒋᐊᖅᑎᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᐸᐅᓗᓯ ᖁᓕᑦᑕᓕᐅᑉ (1939–2012), ᐸᐅᓕ ᐋᐸᒃ ᐊᖏᓕᖅ (1954–1998), ᓄᐊᒪᓐ ᑰᓐ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓴᖅᑲᓕᐊᓯ ᑯᓄᒃ, ᒪᓕᒃᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ ᐊᕐᓇᐃᑦ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑎᒌᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ ᐅᑯᐊᖑᓪᓗᑎᒃ, ᐊᑐᐊᑦ ᐊᑭᑦᑎᖅ, ᓲᓴᓐ ᐊᖑᑕᐅᑦᑐᖅ ᐊᕕᙵᖅ, ᒪᕆ-ᐃᓕᓇ ᑰᓯᓅ, ᒪᑎᓕᓐ ᐱᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᕙᓗ, ᑭᐅᓗ ᑯᓄᒃᓗ, ᑕᐃᒪᓕ ᐊᒃᓱᒻᒪᕆᐊᓗᒃ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᕗᑦ ᓄᓇᑦᑎᓐᓂ. ᐱᒋᐊᕐᓂᕐᒥᓂᑦ ᑖᒃᑯᐊᒃ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓰᐅᖅᑎᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᑦᑎᓯᒪᕗᑦ ᐱᖓᓱᓂᑦ ᑕᑭᔪᓂᑦ ᑕᕆᔭᒃᓴᓪᓚᑖᓂᒃ, 8ᓂᒃ ᓇᐃᓐᓂᖅᓴᓂᒃ, 8ᓂᒃ ᓇᐃᑦᑐᑯᓗᖕᓂᑦ, ᑕᑯᓐᓇᒐᒃᓴᓂᑦ ᑕᓚᕖᓴᒃᑯᑦ, ᐅᓄᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐊᐱᖅᓱᒐᓂᑦ, ᒫᓐᓇᐅᔪᖅ ᐱᖓᓱᓂᒃ ᐋᖅᑭᒃᓱᐃᕗᑦ ᑕᑭᔪᓂᒃ ᐱᙳᐊᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᓱᓕᔪᓂᒡᓗ ᑕᕆᔭᒐᖅᓴᕐᓂᑦ. 1990ᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐱᒋᐊᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᓴᖅᑭᑎᑦᑎᓯᒪᕗᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᓂᑦ ᐱᕙᓪᓕᐊᔪᓂᒃ, ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᑐᖃᓂᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᓂᒃᖄᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᐃᓚᖏᑦ ᖃᕆᑕᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᕐᓯᒪᔪᓂᒃ, ᓱᓕᔪᓂᒡᓗ ᐅᓂᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᓂᒃ. 1840ᒦᖑᐊᖅᑐᖅ, ᖃᐅᓚᐅᖅᑎᓐᓇᒍ (2009), ᐊᕐᓇᐃᑦ ᓴᓇᔭᖓᑦ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᖅ ᑕᑭᔪᖅ ᐱᙳᐊᖅᑐᖅ, ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᐳᖅ ᑰᑐᔪᙳᐊᖅ,

ᓂᖏᐅᕆᔭᐅᙳᐊᖅᑐᕐᓗ (ᒪᑎᓕᓐ ᐱᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᕙᓗ) ᐃᕐᖑᑕᖓᓗ ᐊᒃᓱᕈᕐᓇᖅᓯᐅᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐋᓂᐊᕐᓇᖅᑐᒧᑦ ᑎᑭᑕᐅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐃᓚᖏᑦ. ᑖᓐᓇ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐊᖅ ᓵᓚᒃᓴᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᐱᐅᓂᖅᐹᕆᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᖅᐹᒥᒃ ᑕᑭᔪᒥᒃ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᒻᒥᒃ ᓴᓇᔪᓂᒃ 2008ᖑᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᑐᓛᑐᒥᑦ, ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᒥᑦ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑕᐅᕙᒃᑐᑦ ᓴᓚᒃᓴᕋᓱᖕᓂᐅᕙᒃᑐᒥᑦ. ᑕᒪᑭᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᑖᒃᑯᐊᒃ ᐃᓗᓕᖕᒥᐅᑦ ᑕᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑎᖏᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓂᖔᒪᕆᒃᑐᓂᒃ ᐅᓂᑳᓂᑦ ᓴᕿᔮᖅᑎᑦᑎᕗᑦ, ᐱᖅᑯᓯᒥᓂᒃ ᑕᖁᖅᑯᑎᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᑐᐊᑦᑎᐊᖅ ᐊᔪᖏᑕᒥᓂᒃ. “ᐃᓱᒪᕗᖓᓕ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᕐᓂᖅ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᕗᖅ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᑲᔪᕐᓂᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂᒃ ᐊᓯᐅᖁᓇᒋᑦ ᑲᔪᓰᓐᓇᖁᓪᓗᒋᓪᓗ,” ᐅᖃᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ ᓘᓯ ᑐᓗᒑᕐᔪᒃ, ᓘᓯ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖃᑦᑕᓕᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ 1997ᖑᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ ᐃᓚᒋᔭᐅᓕᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ. “ᓱᓕ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓴᓇᕙᒃᑕᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐊᔪᙱᓐᓇᑦᑕ. ᐊᔪᕈᓐᓃᖅᓴᐅᑏᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᕋᓗᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᓂᐱᓕᐅᖅᓯᒪᔪᒃᑯᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᔮᖅᑎᑦᑎᖔᕋᑦᑕ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐃᓕᑦᑎᑦᑎᓇᓱᖕᓂᖅᐳᑦ ᐅᕙᑦᑎᓐᓄᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔭᕆᐊᖃᓪᓚᕆᒃᑐᓂᒃ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᖏᒻᒪᑦ.” ᐱᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᓱᒪᖃᕆᕗᖅᑕᐅᖅ “ᓱᓕ ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᔭᑦᑎᓂᒃ ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐊᑐᖃᑦᑕᕋᑦᑕ, ᑎᑎᕋᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᕙᓚᐅᖏᒻᒪᑕ,” ᐅᖃᖅᖢᓂ. “ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᕐᓂᖅ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᓴᖅᓯᐅᕐᓇᕐᒪᑦ, ᐃᖅᑲᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᓐᓇᖅᖢᓂᓗ. ᐳᐃᒍᓕᕋᓗᐊᖅᑕᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᖅᑲᕆᐊᖅᑎᑦᑎᔪᓐᓇᕐᒪᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᕐᒥᓪᓘᓂᑦ ᐊᑐᖅᑕᐅᕙᒍᓐᓃᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐃᖅᑲᐃᓐᓇᕐᒪᑦ.” ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒥᐅᑦ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑎᖏᑦ ᑕᒪᑐᒥᖓ ᐊᒃᑐᕐᓂᓕᕕᒡᔪᐊᖑᔪᓐᓇᖅᑐᒥᒃ ᐱᔪᓐᓇᐅᑎᖃᕐᒪᑕ ᓄᓇᕐᔪᐊᕐᒥᐅᓄᑦ ᑕᑯᖅᑯᑎᒋᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍᓗ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ, ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᖅᑎᓐᓂᒃ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᒫᓐᓇᐅᔪᖅ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᖅᐸᓪᓕᐊᔪᓂᒃ ᐃᓕᖅᖁᓯᕆᓕᖅᑕᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ,



Remembering Our Ways

Iglulik filmmakers have used, and continue to use, Inuit culture as a basis to inform, entertain and impart knowledge to our constantly evolving society; age-old mores, revived and told in a new way.

story and how it is recounted from oral chronicles that make this a riveting film, not the macabre subject matter. Iqallijuq was my father’s mother and she had passed unto him all her stories. During the summer evenings as night fell, my father would relate those stories as we, his children, were snug in our warm blankets in our tent. One of my very favourite memories of him is singing songs from legends. My siblings and I, striving hard to stay awake, would eventually be lulled by the ebb and flow of the softly spoken stories or songs and fall asleep often before the end of either. I, like other residents of Iglulik, grew up hearing the Atanarjuat legend during such evenings. What excitement there was in our community when film production began on this epic legend. And, what pride we had in its success. Our story, told our way! Yes, we no longer live in igloos. Yes, some aspects of our culture are no longer practiced and, yes, the modern world is very harsh on our traditions. Unlike Connolly, I identify with the man watching the film inside the museum rather than pitying him. Inuit have acquired new tools to aid remembering. Iglulik filmmakers have used, and continue to use, Inuit culture as a basis to inform, entertain and impart knowledge to our constantly evolving society; age-old mores, revived and told in a new way. We are not reliving, we are remembering— remembering our relations, remembering our ways. On a return home for a visit to our traditional walrus hunting encampment at Iglulik Point, our tent was located not far from Atanarjuat’s boulder, Iksivautaujaq. According to ancient Iglulik lore, it was the very one he had rested against. One evening on my visit, I heard children singing Atanarjuat’s song. I credit the inexplicable combination of joy, pride and thankfulness that I felt at that moment to Saqqaliasi, Apak Angilirq, Qaukuluk, Qulitalik and the lasting legacies of Iglulik filmmaking.


Lucy Tulugarjuk on the set of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO VIVIANE DELISLE


Cast on location during the filming of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)




Inuit Art Quarterly


Author in conversation with Lucy Tulugarjuk, January, 2019. Author in conversation with Madeline Piujuq Ivalu, July, 2017.


Summer 2019

ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᑎᑦᑎᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᐊᑲᐅᔪᓂᑦ ᐊᑲᐅᖏᒃᑲᓗᐊᖅᐸᑕᓘᓐᓃᑦ. ᐊᒃᓱᒻᒪᕆᐊᓗᒃ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᓯᒪᕗᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖏᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏᓪᓗ ᐳᐃᒍᐃᖅᓱᖅᖢᒋᑦ. ᓲᕐᓗ ᖁᓪᓕᐅᑉ ᒥᒃᓵᓄᑦ, ᐱᐅᔫᑉ ᓲᓴᐅᓪᓗ ᓴᓇᓂᑯᖓᑦ ᖁᓪᓕᖅ (1993), ᖁᓕᓕᕆᑎᓪᓗᒋᒃ ᐅᑭᐅᕌᓗᒃᑯᒃ. ᑐᐊᕕᙱᐅᔭᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐊᔾᔨᓕᐅᖅᓯᒪᔫᒃ ᖃᓄᖅ ᖁᓪᓕᓕᕆᓂᕐᒥᑦ ᐃᒡᓗᕕᒐᕐᒥᑦ ᐱᕙᓚᐅᕐᓂᕐᒥᓂᒃ. ᓇᓕᒧᒃᑲᓗ ᑐᓴᕆᐅᑦᑎᐊᓚᐅᕆᕗᒍᑦ ᓱᓇᐅᕙ ᐅᑲᐅᓯᖅᑕᖃᓐᓂᕐᒪᑦ ᖁᓪᓖᓐᓇᕐᒧᑦ ᐃᑯᒻᒪᖕᓂᕐᒧᓗ ᑐᕌᖓᔪᓂᑦ. ᖃᐅᔨᒪᖏᑦᑎᐊᖅᓕᖅᑕᕕᓂᖅᐳᑦ ᐃᓛᑎᒍᖅᑲᐃ ᐃᓕᒃᑲᓗᐊᕐᓂᖅᐸᖏᑦ. ᑕᒫᓂ ᓄᓇᒋᓕᖅᑕᓐᓂᒃ ᑐᓛᑐᒥ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ ᐅᖃᓪᓚᒃᑐᓂᒃ ᑐᓴᕋᔪᖏᓐᓇᒪ. ᐃᓛᓐᓂᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐ ᐅᖃᓪᓚᒃᑐᓂᒃ ᑐᓴᕈᒪᓕᓗᐊᕐᓂᑯᒧᑦ ᖃᕆᑕᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓱᒪᐅᑉ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᓕᐊᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᖃᑦᑕᖅᐳᖓ ᓲᕐᓗ ᑭᙳᓪᓖᑦ (1992). ᑖᓐᓇ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᑎᑦᑎᔪᖅ ᐃᓐᓇᕐᓂᑦ ᑲᑎᒪᔾᔪᑎᖃᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᐱᓰᑦ ᒥᒃᓵᓄᑦ, ᐃᙱᐅᓯᐅᓂᕐᒥᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖃᖄᖅᖢᑎᒃ, ᐊᔮᔭᒻᒪᕆᓕᖅᖢᒋᓪᓗ. ᑖᒃᑯᐊ ᐃᓐᓇᐃᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᑦᑎᐊᐳᑦ ᐱᓰᑦ ᖃᓄᖅ ᐋᕿᒃᑕᐅᕙᓚᐅᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ, ᕿᒥᖏᑦ, ᑐᑭᖏᓪᓗ, ᐃᖏᖅᑕᖏᑦ ᐊᔮᔮᑦ, ᕿᓚᐅᔾᔭᖅᑐᐊᓐᓄᐃᓪᓗ. ᓈᓚᓕᕌᖓᒃᑭᒃ ᕚᓱᐊ ᖁᐊᓴ ᐊᖓᔪᖓᓗ ᔪᐊᔨ ᑲᑉᐱᐊᓇᖅ, ᓂᐱᐊᓗᖏᑦ ᐅᐊᖏᓛᒃ ᑐᓴᕐᓂᕆᕙᒃᐸᒃᑲ. ᕿᒦᑦ, ᐅᖃᐅᓰᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᖏᐅᓰᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓇᓱᓐᓇᔪᒃᐸᒃᖢᒋᑦ, ᐅᐊᖏᓛᒃ ᐃᓱᒪᓐᓄ ᐊᒃᑐᕐᓂᖃᕕᒡᔪᐊᓲᖅ. ᑕᕐᕆᔭᒡᒍᔭᕋᑦᑕᐅᖅ ᓄᓕᐊᕆᔭᕐᒪ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑕᖓ ᐊᑕᒍᑦᑖᓗᒃ (ᐱᕐᓕᕋᖅ) (1992), ᐊᒃᓱᐊᓗᒃ ᐃᓅᖦᖤᐱᐊᓗᒃᑐᕕᓂᖅ ᓴᐱᕐᓇᕕᒡᔪᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ, ᐃᖃᓪᓕᔪᖅ ᐅᑯᒫᓗᒃ ᐊᐱᖅᓱᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᐳᖅ. ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒥᐅᓂᒃ ᑐᓴᐅᒪᔭᐅᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᖅ ᑖᓐᓇ ᐊᑕᒍᑦᑖᓗᒃ. ᓱᓇᐅᕙ ᐊᑕᒍᑦᑖᓗᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓚᒌᒃ, ᐊᓯᖏᓐᓂᒡᓗ ᐊᐅᓪᓛᖃᑎᖃᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᐊᔪᖅᓯᐅᖃᓕᕐᓂᕐᒪᑕ ᓄᓇᑐᐃᓐᓈᓗᖕᒥᑦ. ᐱᕐᓕᕋᖅᑐᐊᓘᓕᕐᓂᕐᒪᑕ, ᐊᑕᒍᑦᑖᓗᒃ ᐆᒪᔪᑐᐊᑦᑎᐊᖑᓕᕐᓂᕐᖢᓂ. ᐃᓅᑑᑦᑎᐊᓕᕋᒥ ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐃᓚᕕᓂᓂ ᓂᕆᖃᑦᑕᖅᖢᓂᒋᑦ ᐅᒪᔪᓐᓇᕐᓂᕐᒪᑦ. ᑖᒃᑯᐊ ᓇᓂᓯᔪᕕᓃᑦ ᐃᓄᖃᖅᑐᓄᑦ ᐊᒡᒋᓕᕋᒥᒃ ᐅᖃᕐᓂᖅᐳᑦ “ᓂᕿᑐᖅᑐᖃᖅᑐᐊᓘᓐᓂᕐᒪᑦ, ᑕᒪᔾᔭ ᐅᓯᕙᕗᑦ,” ᐱᖁᔭᒥᓂᒃ ᒪᓕᒃᖢᑎᒃ. ᑐᓵᔪᓪᓕ ᓱᖅᑯᐃᑲᐅᑎᒋᕗᑦ ᑐᑭᖓᓂᒃ, ᐸᕐᓇᒋᐊᖃᕋᒥᒃ ᐱᑦᑕᐃᓕᔾᔪᑎᓂᒡᓗ ᒪᓕᒋᐊᖃᕋᒥᒃ. ᐅᕙᓐᓄᓪᓕ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑑᑉ ᐃᖃᓪᓕᔫᓪᓗ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏᑦ, ᐅᓂᒃᑳᕈᓯᖅ, ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᔭᐅᓂᖓᓗ ᑐᓴᐅᒪᔭᓂᒃ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᕈᒥᓇᓕᖅᑎᑦᑎᕗᖅ. ᐃᖃᓪᓕᔪᖅ ᐅᑕᕋᕐᒪ ᐊᓈᓇᒋᓚᐅᖅᑕ, ᑐᓴᐅᒪᔭᒥᓂᒡᓗ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᓂᒃ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᑎᓚᐅᖅᖢᓂᐅᒃ. ᐊᐅᔭᒃᑯᑦ ᑖᖅᓯᓕᖅᕌᖓᑦ ᐊᑖᑕᕗᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᐸᓚᐅᕐᒪᑦ, ᐃᓐᓇᖓᓕᕌᖓᑦᑕ ᑐᐱᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ. ᐃᖃᐅᒪᔭᓐᓂᒃ ᑲᔾᔮᕆᕙᒃᐸᕋ ᐅᓂᒃᑲᖅᑐᐊᑦ ᐱᓯᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᓂᐱᑭᑦᖢᓂ ᐃᙱᐅᔭᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐅᕙᒍᑦ ᓄᑕᖅᑲᑎᒍᑦ ᐃᖅᑯᒪᓇᓱᕕᒡᔪᐊᖅᐸᒃᖢᑕ ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐃᓛᓐᓂᒃᑯᑦ ᐱᐊᓂᓚᐅᖅᑎᓐᓇᒍ ᓯᓂᓕᖅᐸᓚᐅᖅᐳᒍᑦ. ᑕᐃᒫᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᖕᒥᐅᑕᐅᖃᑎᑐᑦ ᐱᕈᖅᓴᓚᐅᖅᐳᖓ ᐊᑕᓈᕐᔪᐊᑉ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖓ ᑐᓴᐅᒪᓪᓗᒍ. ᓄᓇᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ ᐊᓕᐊᓇᐃᖦᖤᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᖦᖤᖅᐳᖅ ᑐᓴᕋᑦᑕ ᑖᓇ ᐅᓂᑳᖅ ᑕᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑕᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᐊᓘᓕᕐᒪᑦ. ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᖅᓱᕈᑦᑎᐊᖅᖢᑕ ᐱᒃᑯᒋᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᕙᕗᑦ ᐱᕐᔪᐊᙳᖅᑐᐊᓘᖕᒪᑦ. ᐅᓂᒃᑲᐅᓯᕗᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑕᐅᑎᐊᕐᓯᒪᓪᓗᓂ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᕗᑦ ᒪᓕᒃᖢᒋᑦ ᐄ ᐃᒡᓗᕕᒐᖃᖅᐸᒍᓐᓃᑐᒍᑦ, ᐄ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᕕᓂᑦᑕ ᐃᓚᖏᑦ ᒪᓕᑕᐅᕙᒍᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐄ ᐃᓅᓯᕆᓕᖅᑕᕗᑦ ᖃᓪᓗᓇᐃᖓᓂᖓᓄᑦ ᐊᖅᓱᕈᕐᓇᖅᑐᒻᒪᕆᐊᓗᒃ. ᑭᓯᐊᓂᓕ ᑳᓇᓕ ᐃᓱᒪᖃᑎᒋᖏᑉᐸᕋ ᖃᕿᐊᕈᓱᖕᓂᖓᓂᒃ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᖃᑎᒋᔭᒥᓂᒃ ᐃᖃᓗᖕᓃᖦᖢᓂ, ᑕᐃᓐᓇᓕ ᐊᖑᑦ ᐃᓄᒃ ᑐᑭᓯᑦᑎᐊᖅᐸᕋ. ᐃᓄᒃᑎᒍᑦ ᐃᖃᐅᒪᔾᔪᑎᓂᒃ ᓄᑖᓂᒃ ᐊᑐᖅᐸᓕᕋᑦᑕ. ᐃᓗᓕᖕᒥᐅᓪᓕ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᖅᑎᖏᑦ ᐊᑐᕈᓐᓇᖅᓯᖕᒪᑕ ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᒃᑲᓐᓂᕈᑎᓂᒃ, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᖁᓯᖏᑦ ᑐᙵᕕᒋᓪᓗᒍ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᓕᐊᓇᐃᑦᑐᓂᒃ, ᖃᐅᔨᒪᑎᑦᑎᕗᓪᓗ ᐅᕙᑦᑎᓐᓂᒃ, ᐃᓅᓯᖅᐳᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᖅᐸᓕᐊᖏᓐᓇᕐᒪᑦ, ᑭᓯᐊᓂᓕ ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᔭᒥᓂᒃ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᐸᒃᐳᒃ ᓄᑖᓂᒃ ᐊᑐᕋᓗᐊᖅᖢᑎᒃ. ᐃᓅᓯᕕᓂᖅ ᐃᔾᔪᐊᕋᓱᙱᓐᓇᑦᑎᒍᑦ ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᓇᓱᖔᖅᐳᒍᓪᓕ, ᐃᓚᕕᓂᖅᐳᑦ ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᕙᒃᐸᕗᑦ, ᐱᖅᑯᓯᕗᑦ ᐳᐃᒡᒍᐃᔾᔭᐃᖅᖢᒋᓪᓗ. ᐊᖏᕐᕋᓚᐅᑲᒃᓯᒪᓪᓗᖓ ᐊᐃᕙᒐᓱᒡᕕᑦᑎᓐᓄᑦ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᐅᑉ ᓄᕗᐊᓂ ᑐᐱᖅᐳᑦ ᐅᖓᓯᓚᐅᙱᒻᒪᑦ ᐊᑕᓈᕐᔪᐊᑉ ᑕᖃᐃᖅᓯᕕᕕᓂᖓᓂᑦ ᑕᐃᔭᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᒃᓯᕙᐅᑕᐅᔭᕐᒥᑦ. ᐅᓂᑳᑐᖃᕐᓂᒃ ᑕᐃᑲᓂᒎᖅ ᑕᖃᐃᖅᓯᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᖕᒪᑦ. ᑕᐃᑲᓃᑎᓪᓗᖓ ᐅᓐᓄᓵᓕᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᑐᓵᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᒐᒪ ᓄᑕᕋᑯᓗᖕᓂᑦ ᐃᙱᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᐊᑕᓈᕐᔪᐊᑉ ᐃᙱᐅᓯᖓᓂᒃ. ᐃᕐᖐᓐᓇᑦᑎᐊᖅ ᐃᒃᐱᖕᓇᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ ᖁᕕᐊᓇᕐᓂᖅ, ᐅᐱᒍᓱᖕᓂᖅ, ᖁᔭᓕᓂᕐᓗ ᐊᑕᐅᑦᑎᒃᑯᑦᑎᐊᖅ, ᖁᔭᒋᓗᐊᓚᐅᖅᐸᒃᑲ ᓴᖅᑲᓕᐊᓯᒃ, ᐋᐸᒃ, ᖃᐅᑯᓗᒃ, ᖁᓕᑦᑕᓕᒡᓗ ᐊᑐᒻᒪᕆᒃᑐᓂ ᑐᔪᓯᔪᓐᓇᕐᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ.

ᐊᕙᑎ ᓘᓯ ᑐᓗᒐᕐᔪᒃ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᐅᓯᐅᑦᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐊᑕᓈᕐᔪᐊᒥᑦ (2001)

ᐊᑖᓂ ᐱᙳᐊᖅᑏᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᓕᐅᖅᑏᓪᓗ ᐊᑕᓈᕐᔪᐊᒥᑦ (2001)

ᐊᐃᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᓕᐅᕐᑎ ᕕᕕᐊᓐ ᑎᓚᐃᓗ

ᐊᐃᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᓐᓂᑦ

ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔾᔪᑎᑦ 1 2

ᑎᑎᕋᒃᑐᖅ ᐅᖃᓪᓚᖃᑎᖃᕐᖢᓂ ᓘᓯ ᑐᓗᒐᕐᔪᖕᒥᑦ, ᔭᓄᐊᕆ, 2019. ᑎᑎᕋᒃᑐᖅ ᐅᖃᓪᓚᖃᑎᖃᕐᖢᓂ ᒪᑎᓕᓐ ᐱᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᕙᓗᒥᑦ, ᔪᓚᐃ, 2017.



Remembering Our Ways

Woman with Fish and Kakivak unidentified artist, Nunavik, ca. 1952

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Summer 2019

Mathew Nuqingaq

Masquerade Spring 2019 SNOW GOGGLES WITH STAND muskox horn, silver, copper, ivory 7.25 x 6.75 x 2 in., 2018

Ningiukulu Teevee - Appeased Mother- 30 x 44 inches - Graphite and Coloured Pencil 65 George Street, Toronto 416 323 1373

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Summer 2019

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Siassie Kenneally, Bag of Ice, 2014 Siassie Kenneally, Bag of Ice, 2014 © Dorset Fine Arts © Dorset Fine Arts

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Curated by Asinnajaq and Stephan Puskas A project of Isuma in partnership with Vtape Esker Foundation is pleased to present selected films from the first large-scale tour of Igloolik Inuit video art from the Isuma and Arnait Women’s Video collective. With thanks to Nunavut Independent Television Network. Image courtesy of IsumaTV and Vtape, Toronto.

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2019-03-07 4:37 PM


Fast Runners and Time Travellers: Visiting the Isuma Archive — by Jessica Kotierk

Containing never before seen recordings, interviews and documentation of local events as well as raw footage of both realized and unrealized projects from almost 20 years, the Igloolik Isuma Productions video archive, housed at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ON, provides an important look at the breadth of production by the collective Isuma. After a visit to this collection, a curator and archivist reflects on the complicated nature of a video archive and what questions this repository raises.


On January 29, 2019, I visited the Library and Archives of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) in Ottawa, ON, with the purpose of viewing some of the footage from the Igloolik Isuma Productions video archive. The collection was acquired by the NGC in partnership with TD Bank Group in 2011, after Isuma filed for bankruptcy and their assets were liquidated.1 Efforts were made to have the culturally relevant material acquired by a Nunavut purchaser, but they ended up in Ottawa instead. Personally, as an archive and film enthusiast with strong family ties to Iglulik, NU, the exciting adventure began with the finding aid. What is contained in the hundreds of cassettes and the thousands of hours of footage? How do I narrow down my selection? Could I just quit my job and watch it all? Reluctantly, I chose a sliver from the options and landed on a variety of footage types: production footage for daydream sequences in Saputi (Fish Traps) (1993), community member interviews discussing the experience of making Qaggiq (Gathering Place) (1988) and unused 1998 footage for the first attempt at shooting Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), which was successfully filmed in 1999. After making my selection and liaising with the archivist, visiting the quiet media room was a cloud-like experience—hazy and elevated. Set up with a television and headphones connected to VCR, Betamax and U-matic players, this was my explorer’s portal, my moment to time travel. I saw cousins and aunts and community members as they were 20 to 30 years ago. I watched footage of children who now have children of their own. Admittedly, I shared screenshots with family so that I could let them know the kind of teleporting I experience in my work. The Isuma video archive contains raw footage from 20 years of realized and unrealized productions, as well as unique recordings of local interviews and events. Much of this material has never been shared. It cannot be found on IsumaTV.2 Initially, I was struck by the

Rubber feet created for Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) COURTESY HUMBER GALLERIES


Cast and crew on the set of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) COURTESY ISUMA DISTRIBUTION INTERNATIONAL INC. PHOTO VIVIANE DELISLE

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Jessica Kotierk watching sections of the original production tapes of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, from 1998, at the National Gallery of Canada, 2019 COURTESY NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA PHOTO KATHERINE TAKPANNIE

ritual duel within the igloo, where the knotted shamans are circled by floating parkas. The parkas chase each other throughout the igloo, invading the space of the sitting spectators. This footage captures every angle—the shamans wrestling in the foreground, the igloo residents leaning out of the way of the parkas and point of view shots of a parka as it circles the igloo. Did the final film pare down this sequence to retain the veil of the shamans’ mystical journeys? This is the fun of an archival exploration. I can question and imagine the filmmaker’s decision-making. What is happening behind the camera? This video archive is important, as the individuals associated with Isuma have been the firsts in many areas. Isuma is a clear step towards Inuit controlling the creation of media for Inuit, by Inuit. The archive is a research stockpile for those wanting to see how the work was made. For example, the footage shows that crews

laughter in the behind-the-scenes footage. I was surprised to hear laughter on set and in frame since representation of Inuit in film is not often in the context of comedy. I had heard from family members about an early attempt to shoot Atanarjuat. In 1998, a year before production began on the version that would go on to win the Caméra d’Or at Cannes, filming started and then was cancelled on a different version. This visit to the archive was my chance to watch some of the resulting footage. As this material was not made into a finished narrative, the obvious thing to do was to compare individual scenes to some of those in the 2001 feature. To me, the shaman scene that plays out early in the film was the most interesting. It is a scene that I pay close attention to in the final Atanarjuat, since my father plays the role of Kumaglak, the camp leader. The 1998 version contains an extended scene of the



Fast Runners and Time Travellers

Everyone in the community has been influenced by video productions. This archive is itself part of a larger local historical record that is a great treasure, one that is most meaningful to the families of Iglulik. —

Inuit Art Quarterly


Summer 2019


Two of the 17 videocassettes from Saputi (Fish Traps) (1993) and four of the 49 videocassettes from Qaggiq (Gathering Place) (1989) COURTESY NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA PHOTO KATHERINE TAKPANNIE

spoke Inuktitut, English and French. We can now answer questions such as “What instructions were given to the actor in that specific scene?” or “How did they do that?” My favourite technical example are the shots from the 1998 Atanarjuat of a mechanical walrus head rising out of an ice hole, take after take after take. With limited time and hours and hours of video footage to watch, I decided to switch to other material. The daydream footage from Saputi caught my interest, since it was an innovative exercise. In the 1990s, Isuma Productions imagined what Inuit in the 1930s dreamed about—like a Back to the Future (1985) or Austin Powers (1997) play on remembering. The production footage that stands out to me is in relation to the river-jumping dream that had director Zacharias Kunuk, OC hidden behind a hill so that he would be out of frame. Watching the final Saputi, I now know which mound Kunuk waits behind, the summer tundra landscape leaving few places for the crew to hide. The final batch of footage I selected included interviews from the production of Qaggiq. I wondered how much I would understand, since I have lost my Inuktitut, but I found that the greatness of video is that there is so much else to take in. The people I recognized, only younger here, wearing the latest 1980s fashions, and the homes, with families being interviewed inside—occasionally interrupted by telephone calls—were the closest connections to the past I could imagine. The videos reminded me of other documentaries that have featured some of the same community members. Iglulik has a lot of film experience as a whole. Everyone in the community has been influenced by video productions. This archive is itself part of a larger local historical record that is a great treasure, one that is most meaningful to the families of Iglulik. I have a hard time deciding what impressions or messages to take away from my visit to the Igloolik Isuma Productions video archive. The importance and connection were plain, but they are hard to express and share. A video archive really needs to be seen first hand. Maybe my uneasy reaction reflects the nature of the archive— limitless and ever changing. Archives can contain everything and therefore the material has to be sorted by the exploring viewer, with the help of personal interest. In the meantime, until I return to the media room, I am collecting questions for the archive: Exactly how many times did Natar Ungalaaq have to run naked across the ice?


Paul Waldie, “Fast Runner filmmakers pull the plug; vast archive in jeopardy,” The Globe and Mail, July 9, 2011. 2 IsumaTV was launched in January 2008 as a collaborative multimedia platform for Indigenous filmmakers and media organizations. The platform allows users to create their own channel of content and currently carries over 6,000 videos, in addition to thousands of other images and audio files in more than 80 different languages. 1



Fast Runners and Time Travellers

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Mattiusi Iyaituk (1950–) of Ivujivik, Nunavik Made in 2017 for the film: “Atautsikut / Leaving None Behind” Whalebone, caribou antler and stone • 16”H x 25”W x 34”L

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Akornatsinniittut — Tarratta Nunaanni (Among Us — In the Land of Our Shadows) Marc Fussing Rosbach RELEASED 2017, FUROS IMAGE

by Jocelyn Piirainen

What happens when you combine traditional Inuit stories with modern storytelling techniques? One answer can be found in emerging Greenlandic director and producer Marc Fussing Rosbach’s debut featurelength film Akornatsinniittut — Tarratta Nunaanni (Among Us — In the Land of Our Shadows) (2017). It is an entertaining, family-friendly adventure that deftly mixes Hollywood film references with Western Greenlandic culture and tradition. Having made its international premiere in October 2018 at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, ON, Rosbach’s film is also the first science fiction feature to come from Greenland. The film follows the lives of two close friends Nukappi (Casper Bach Zeeb) and Mio (Rosbach), living in Ilulissat, Greenland. Nukappi wakes one morning, unsettled Inuit Art Quarterly

by a dream of a world of darkness and an ominous encounter with a hooded figure shrouded in mystery. The dreams continue over some time until Nukappi is visited by an old man (Jørgen Kristensen) who tells him that he, like his grandfather before, is an angakkoq (shaman)—one of few who are still alive today. Putting his trust and acceptance in everything the mysterious visitor tells him, Nukappi eventually learns to harness his burgeoning powers and is able to manipulate the air pressure around him—even pushing and pulling Mio around the frozen landscape outside the city. Rosbach keeps the largely muted and atmospheric tone of the film well-balanced, often rounding out more serious scenes with light, comedic touches. These pop culture references permeate even the more dramatic moments of the film. In the opening 90

scene, Mio and Nukappi discuss girls and relationships, and how they do not quite understand either. Mio ends the conversation by giving advice to Nukappi saying, “There’s plenty of mattak (whale skin and blubber) in the sea,” playing on the cliché “there’s plenty of fish in the sea.” In another instance, Nukappi finally confesses to Mio that he’s an angakkoq, with new-found abilities. In response, Mio jokingly waves his hand in the air as if he was carrying a wizard’s wand and exclaims, “EXPELLIARMUS!”, referencing the spell cast by wizards in the highly pop­ ular Harry Potter (1997–2007) series. “Can you be more serious? This is not a movie,” Nukappi dryly responds. It only takes a single beat before Rosbach—both as Mio and as the director—slowly and coyly turns his head towards the camera, breaking the “fourth wall,” acknowledging this is a movie. Summer 2019


Rosbach keeps the largely muted and atmospheric tone of the film well-balanced, often rounding out more serious scenes with light, comedic touches.

Marc Fussing Rosbach (b. 1995 Ilulissat) — Akornatsinniittut – Tarrata Nunaanni (Among Us – In the Land of Our Shadows) (stills) 2017 Video 93 min COURTESY FUROS IMAGE


The tenser currents of the plot are interwoven with these scenes of brevity as viewers are introduced to Tarratta Nunaanni, a parallel dimension where the dark angakkoq from Nukappi’s dream attempts to take over and destroy the human world. The antagonist goes as far as possessing Mio to steal one of the portal objects that allow the angakkoq to travel between worlds. From then on, it’s a battle between light and dark, between good and evil, where Rosbach’s strong filmmaking skills are most evident. The film progresses at a steady pace, giving ample time to engage with the quotidian aspects of the character’s lives. Moments of quiet thoughtfulness reveal the pair’s inward reflections and their attempts to solve their personal issues. This grants viewers the opportunity to connect to them through their own shared experiences and also to laugh at their youthfulness. In the more dramatic moments— particularly the thrilling action scenes between Nukappi and the dark angakkoq— Rosbach utilizes impressive visual effects to further achieve the believability of the powers bestowed on the characters. Crisp


blue, green and rich magenta lights represent the angakkoq’s supernatural abilities, set off from the distinct noir tones of the film. Circular portals with concentric rings of illuminated script glow in the Arctic dusk allowing the characters to travel between worlds while providing a compelling realism to the more fantastic elements of the story. Akornatsinniittut — Tarratta Nunaanni is an ambitious debut for the self-taught Rosbach, who is credited as the writer, editor, director, music composer, co-producer, visual effects artist and co-starring actor. Perhaps, just as with Nukappi and Mio, the director heard accounts of the angakkoq and has been able to preserve, relay and breathe new life into traditional myths through modern filmmaking, telling their stories once again. Yet, the film left me wondering what will happen to the pair and their newfound powers. The director has stated that there is more to come with another film already in the works. Here, Rosbach has proved that the magic of film can be a vital tool and, with perseverance and humour, is one in which others may also find inspiration to reimagine their own unique ways of cultural storytelling.



Tia and Piujuq Lucy Tulugarjuk

Lucy Tulugarjuk (b. 1975 Iglulik) — Tia and Piujuq (stills) 2018 Video 80 min



by Priscilla Naunġaġiaq Hensley

When I was a little girl, we would sometimes go to Ivik, a boat ride from Qikiktagruk (Kotzebue) in Northwest Alaska, to spend part of our summer at camp with my father’s sister and our extended family and many cousins. There we would explore, swim, pick black trash bags full of wild-grown greens to eat with sugar and play in the way children do—developing elaborate, immersive and imaginary realms we would inhabit until our fingers grew too cold. My sister and I did the same at home, where bikes were horses and Matchbox cars held multitudes. Watching Tia and Piujuq (2018), a film Lucy Tulugarjuk directed and co-wrote with Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Samuel Cohn-Cousineau, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the intensity with which children play. And, too, the ease with which they can accept the magical. Perhaps even their need for it. Tia and Piujuq centres around the experience of a Syrian girl named Tia Inuit Art Quarterly

(Tia Bshara), who has recently resettled with her father, Samir (Ghaiss Gharibet), and pregnant mother, Amani (Eiman Aljaber), in Montreal, QC, a parallel to Bshara herself, who had only arrived in Canada six months before being cast. It’s summer and she spends her time drawing and helping her uncle at his grocery store. One day the homevisit nurse for her mother offers Tia a stack of books to choose one from. She selects My Name is Arnaktauyok: The Life and Art of Germaine Arnaktauyok (2015) by Germaine Arnaktauyok with Gyu Oh. Arnaktauyok is director Tulugarjuk’s older sister, and her art is one of the inspirations for the film. One day, Tia is reading her book in the alley behind her uncle’s store. Drawn to an old door across the way, she enters and, through a sparkle of colours, emerges into a little house on a gravel beach and the bright light of Arctic summer. She is welcomed by an animated, amauti-wearing woman with a baby on her back. 92

Back at home in their Montreal apartment, the difficult business of life for refugees from violent conflict plays out from a child’s perspective. Tia’s parents attempt to shield her from news of the ongoing conflict in Syria, but she hears them talk and sees their worry. She asks her father, “Is everything really ok?” To which he replies, “Yes, everything’s fine.” It’s not. In one short but impactful scene, we see her startled awake when the sounds of nearby construction infiltrate her sleep, triggering a frightening war dream. It’s a small, telling window into the trauma child refugees experience. Soon, Tia returns to the portal she discovered and escapes into the spacious, sweeping Arctic landscape. She emerges from a billowing doorway and the camera follows her as she walks out toward the ocean. Here a drone picks up the shot, facing her as she continues to walk and then soaring wide-angle out over the water. As her figure shrinks, we get a sense of her Summer 2019

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exhilaration. Rather than appearing as small, isolated figure, she seems freed. Piujuq (Nuvvija Tulugarjuk) is at camp with her grandmother (Madeline Ivalu) for the summer, throwing beach rocks into the water and looking a bit at loose ends. Back in their canvas-walled tent, Piujuq expresses her boredom and loneliness and her grandmother gives her two small dolls. They play with them. “This one is you, but I don’t know who this is,” says her grandmother. It quickly becomes apparent whom the second doll represents. Tia and Piujuq meet on the beach and easily become fast friends who are a joy to watch. Tia’s arrival through a portal between a shed in Montreal and a small abandoned house in Nunavut is an undistinguished fact. For Piujuq, the harder thing is that to her the house seems haunted. This foreshadows the other magical storyline in the movie: the girls’ interaction with various non-human beings such as the sinister qallupilluk and the taqriaqsuit drawn from traditional Inuit stories. It is the latter who figure more prominently, with one appearing several times and even passing through the portal before damaging it. Throughout these encounters, the budding relationship between Tia and Piujuq is deeply charming. We see this in the way they laugh together, the ease with which they say hello and goodbye, and their gentle treatment of one another. It is unfortunately rare that the lives of such girls are brought to film and a treat that it is done with such dimension and respect. Inuit culture and people are a lifeline for a girl struggling with displacement and trauma, both of which are well-known to Inuit. However, where so often we must surveil and gate keep the perimeters of our arts, monitoring for appropriation, here, a young girl finds solace, friendship and adventure in her near-literal immersion in Inuit culture and the art of Arnaktauyok. Where Indigenous people are too frequently portrayed as damaged and our cultures unravelled, here we are what helps someone heal. And everywhere the children go in this film, they are loved and dare to love. It is the truest magic of all.

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Tanya Tagaq Toronto

In 2012 the Toronto International Film Festival commissioned award-winning musician Tanya Tagaq, CM to create a soundscape to accompany Robert Flaherty’s iconic film Nanook of the North (1922), as part of their screening program First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition. The film is legendary. And so, too, is what Tagaq did in response. Working alongside composer Derek Charke, percussionist Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot, Tagaq responded sonically to Flaherty’s images to reimagine and reconfigure the staged, theatrical narrative. (In its original form, the film did not feature diegetic sound. In 1976 composer Stanley Silverman recreated source sound to accompany the film.) The result is a layered work of film and live performance and music that unsteadies Flaherty’s cinematic “truth,” further exposing its falsity as a documentary work, while imbuing it with the emotion and voice of its silenced Inuit cast and crew. Although the piece naturally varies across each iteration, in Tagaq’s signature vocal style, images of the Nunavik tundra and the intimacy of family life are complemented with warm melodic hums, while the patronizing scenes of Nanook, played by Alakariallak (date of birth unknown–1924), are accompanied by charged rhythmic bursts. In one signature performance at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Tagaq repeated the word “colonizer” over and over during the staged scene of Nanook’s attempt to bite through a vinyl record. The infamous clip, now known to have been a fabrication by Flaherty and which was passed as credible upon the film’s release, is indicative of a broader erasure of Inuit agency, contemporaneity and performance by the filmmaker. Tagaq’s reworking of Nanook of the North is both a reclamation and a revelation—one that so blatantly exposes colonialism and its artifice that it is difficult for audiences not to be viscerally affected. Through her performance, Tagaq helps make clear that the actors of Nanook were also performing: both in front of and behind the camera. And articulates, with a new voice, the possibilities of rewriting Inuit presence on screen.

Tanya Tagaq performing in front of the 1922 silent film Nanook of the North in Toronto, ON, 2012 COURTESY TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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