People & Culture

Nunavik art exhibition lands at Canadian Museum of Nature

Our Land, Our Art explores the rich heritage of Nunavik through photography, video, music and more

  • Dec 02, 2022
  • 455 words
  • 2 minutes
A museum visitor (left) sits with circus performer Minnie Ningiuruvik to watch Tupiq A.C.T.'s two-screen video depicting a realistic wolf. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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Traditional meets modern in a beautiful timeline of art and life in Nunavik.

Nunavik, which comprises the northern third of the province of Quebec, is the homeland of 12,000 Inuit, 60 per cent of whom are younger than 30. Our Land, Our Art, which opens Dec. 2 (and runs through October 2024 at the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Northern Voices Gallery), captures the dynamism of a young community forging a path forward while guided by traditional knowledge. 

The Avataq Cultural Institute collected 32 traditional objects, artworks and artefacts for the gallery show. They then collaborated with Nunavik artists, pairing these modern creators with specific artefacts to act as inspiration. The resulting artworks are both beautiful and beautifully unexpected.

Five don’t-miss collabs

The photographer and the hunter

On-the-rise photographer and videographer Lucasi Kiatainaq is a resident of Kangirsujuaq, Nunavik, who is currently studying in Montreal. His inspiration is a small soapstone carving of a seal hunter (Thomasie Kaitak, 1957). “I related to the idea of waiting for the seal,” he explains.  Four wildlife photos highlight the softness of the blues, golds and greys of a Nunavik summer. Kiatainaq’s contribution also includes “That Spring Feeling,” a video that uses drone photography to record the breathtaking landscape — and the importance of the hunt to his community. “Spring is when we feel most alive with the wilderness around us.”

One of Lucasi Kiatainaq's photographs. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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Thomasie Kaitak's soapstone carving of a seal hunter, the inspiration for Lucasi Kiatainaq's work. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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Tupiq A.C.T.'s video depicted on two screens. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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The circus comes to town

Drama, drumming and a very realistic wolf come to town through Tupiq A.C.T. (Arctic Circus Troupe). Nunavik’s professional circus troupe takes storytelling into a new dimension through a two-screen video that explores the repercussions of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. 

Masterful throat-singing

Do not miss this! A sound installation highlights the skills of traditional throat singing sensation Evie Mark, who has toured the world, performing alongside orchestras and with other traditional artists to share her culture. For Our Land, Our Art, the Ivujivik-born artist sings alongside Akinisie Sivuarapik, who was born and raised in Puvirnituq, and is also known for her drum dancing. The listener stands within a giant felt pod embroidered with traditional tattoo patterns to listen in on the intimate performance.

The amazing amautik

Taqralik Partidge can do anything. Writer, artist, spoken-word poet, curator. Here, she is inspired by a soapstone carving of a mother (Maggie Ituvik Tayara, 1955) to create a heavily beaded amautik.

Maggie Ituvik Tayara's soapstone carving (left) that inspired Taqralik Partidge's work. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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Detail of Taqralik Partidge's heavily beaded amautik. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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Modern transport

Artists and sisters Qumaq M. Iyaituk and Passa Magiuk are both illustrators and writers. That combination of skills makes for three colourful — and modernized — qamutiq (sleds) and canoes that riff off the wood-and-metal kayak (Uqittuq Mark, undated) referenced from the Avataq Cultural Institute’s collection.

Uqittuq Mark's wood-and-metal kayak that influenced Qumaq M. Iyaituk and Passa Magiuk's pencil drawings. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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The work of sisters Qumaq M. Iyaituk and Passa Magiuk. (Photo: Sarah Brown/Can Geo)
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