Laisa Audlaluk-Watsko is a photographer from Aujuittuq (Grise Fjord), NU. In addition to photography, her principal medium, Audlaluk-Watsko makes traditional clothing and mitts with her mother, Annie Audlaluk (1), and is frequently involved in community performances.
Her work with photography began between age ten and eleven, when her father gave her a 35mm camera (2). By the age of fourteen, Audlaluk-Watsko was regularly getting her photographs developed using her own money. Several years later, she bought a digital camera and has now been fully digital for the last fifteen years, using a Canon Mark II and her iPhone when on-the-go.
Audlaluk-Watsko’s work is marked by the tension between traditional life on the land and the 9-to-5 office subsistence more common of southern life. She uses her camera to document both ways of living, photographing community school meetings side-by-side with hunting trips. In Untitled (June and Aajuraq Hunting), two children drag a freshly-caught seal over the ice, an ancient activity completed in modern boots and coats. Untitled (June and Aajuraq Hunting) is also an excellent example of Audlaluk-Watsko’s use of light, placing the two boys and their catch in silhouette against the pale blue of the scenery, their shadows reflected in the still pool of water at their feet.
In 2014, Audlaluk-Watsko was elected to the Grise Fiord city council (3). Living as she does in the northern-most Inuit settlement in Canada, broadband access limits her work’s ability to reach a public audience (4). During visits to Ottawa with family, she uploads as many images as she is able to her personal social media accounts, keeping the rest on memory cards and in boxes for later dates. Audlaluk-Watsko’s work was featured on the Grise Fiord Economic Calendar and the online exhibition Looking Down from Up at Gallery 44 in 2019.
1 Iqqaumavara, “Laisa Audlaluk-Watsko – Her Story,” accessed September 10, 2019 from http://www.iqqaumavara.com/en/laisa-watsko-audlaluk/
2 Audlaluk-Watsko, Laisa. Interview by John Goeghegan. Phone. Toronto, September 2019.
3 Peter Varga, “Nunavut Voters Choose Councillors, Mayors in Staggered Elections,” accessed September 10, 2019 from https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/65674nunavut_voters_choose_councillors_mayors_in_staggered_elections/
4 Audlaluk-Watsko, Laisa. Interview by John Goeghegan. Phone. Toronto, September 2019.