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5 Inuit Artists Included in 2023 Bonavista Biennale

Apr 18, 2023
by IAQ

This week the Bonavista Biennale announced the artists involved in the 2023 edition of the rural public-art event. The fourth edition of the show, which will take place from August 19 to September 17, features 23 artist projects as well as a range of workshops, talks and other programming. This year the Biennale’s theme is “Host,” a call to the meeting points and relationships between people, perspectives, life forms and locations.

A free, month-long event that takes place every two years, the Biennale features installations by artists from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and the world in unconventional indoor and outdoor sites along the Bonavista peninsula on the east coast of the island of Newfoundland.

Among the artists in the 2023 edition are five Inuit contributors: Billy Gauthier, a sculptor from North West River, NL, who is known for his intricately detailed, mixed-media creations depicting traditional Inuit practices, cosmologies, spirituality and personal memories; Glenn Gear, a Montreal, QC–based multimedia artist whose work examines his identity as an urban Inuk with ancestral ties to Nunatsiavut; Couzyn van Heuvelen, a sculptor and installation artist based in Bowmanville, ON, whose practice fuses Inuit art history and traditions with contemporary materials and technologies; Shirley Moorhouse, a multimedia artist from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL, who is known for textile wallhangings that incorporate embroidery, beading, hides, furs, wool, feathers and non-traditional found objects and Jessica Winters, a painter, printmaker and textile artist from Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, NL, whose work speaks to Inuit resiliency as well as the artist’s passion for ecology and conservation.

Among the works commissioned for the Bonavista Biennale are a large-scale whalebone piece by Gauthier, an outdoor installation by van Heuvelen and a new mural by Winters, which is jointly commissioned by the biennale, the Inuit Art Foundation, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project and Onsite Gallery at OCAD University. The mural will travel in the fall to Onsite Gallery, where it will be presented on its downtown Toronto exterior wall.

The 2023 Bonavista Biennale is curated by Artistic Director Rose Bouthillier and IAF board member Ryan Rice, the Executive Director and Curator of Indigenous Art at OCAD University’s Onsite Gallery. They are supported by a curatorial advisory team composed of Jenelle Duval, Bushra Junaid, Bethany MacKenzie and Ossie Michelin.

For the opening weekend on August 19–20, curators and artists will be present to engage with audiences, alongside a host of performances and artist talks. 

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