At the Inuit Art Quarterly (IAQ), we have the privilege to work closely with Inuit artists in varying capacities and to share their work through IAQ Online. These are more than just stories to us—at the IAQ we connect with the artists and their art deeply, and are thrilled to feature them on this platform. As we close out 2022, here are IAQ staff’s favourite stories from this past year:
Pudloo Samayualie Untitled (Hot Tamales) (2015) Coloured pencil and ink 38.1 x 58.4 cmREPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS COURTESY INUIT GALLERY OF VANCOUVER © THE ARTIST
Love for Inuit Art
Some of the most fun we have on the editorial team is getting to choose our favourite Inuit art for special or goofy holidays like April Fools Day. Here are some of the picks we made throughout 2022 that tickled my fancy! In February, we celebrated Valentine's Day with both a love song playlist and this fabulous list of romantic artworks. And to launch our Spring issue, which donned a cover featuring Kablusiak’s Plucked Ookpik (2021), our team chose from a plethora of Inuit owl art, and with great difficulty decided on these diurnal doozies: Ookpik. I even got to flex my artistic muscles with an IAQ original comic for International Siblings Day.
Not only do we love to share our picks but we also love to hear from our cheeky audience and had a happy month of March reading the hilarious captions from our online readers for the April Fools caption contest.
–Napatsi Folger, Associate Editor
Melodie Sammurtok-Lavallée’s paintings of ivory combs on her bedroom walls (detail) (2021)© THE ARTIST
Accessing Ancestral Ways Of Being, Knowing And Creating Through Art
When Melodie Sammurtok-Lavallée was first introduced to intricately carved ancestral combs, it was in artworks by fellow Inuit artists Germaine Arnaktauyok, Okatsiak and Kilikvak Kabloona. She was drawn to learn more. But because of how many Inuinniq (things that are of Inuit culture) have been removed from Inuit and are now housed in museums, her first point of contact with these precious items was online. To bring these objects of beatification home, she lovingly hand-painted them in patterns on her own walls. In this piece, she reflects on how art and aesthetics connect us to our culture and ancestors, and how Inuit access—or lack of it—to Inuit art and history shapes our narratives of who we are.
–Rachel Taylor, Assistant Editor
Caroline Blechert Petal Drop Studs (2020)© THE ARTIST
7 Inuk Jewellers Whose Work You Should Covet
This piece is the second in a series of stories about jewellers creating exceptionally beautiful work in beads, sealskin and silver. Flipping the normal convention of fine jewellery on its head—no gold and diamonds here—the jewellery made by artists across Inuit Nunangat draws directly from the resources at hand, using materials like fur and bullets and motifs that match local flora and cultural tools. I had the opportunity to work closely with a number of these artists, putting together their IAQ Profiles and even walking some through the writing process. It’s been an incredible experience to see them all blossom, which is why I was so thrilled to spotlight them here.
–Jessica MacDonald, Associate Editor
Chantal Jung Flower Blossoms (2022) Digital collage© THE ARTIST
Chantal Jung’s Intergenerational Flower Blossoms
Throughout 2022, we worked with several artists to tell their stories in new ways—experimenting with various tools and techniques alongside them to bring their visions to life. This digital-first artist project, a first for the IAQ, is an intimate, intergenerational family portrait captured through collage, photography, textile and digital media. Flower Blossoms (2022) foregrounds Chantal Jung’s deep admiration for the women of her matrilineal line and their artistic skills, particularly in so-called craft-based work. The imposed hierarchy of craft versus art has long been the subject of critique, but through Jung’s eyes the arbitrary nature of the debate is visible, as well as the possibilities of a future free from this, and other, binaric constraints. It feels like the right attitude to start off 2023.
–Britt Gallpen, Editorial Director
Shirley Moorhouse The Storyteller (detail) (2022)© THE ARTIST
Shirley Moorhouse’s Poetic Artist Project
I’ve long been an admirer of Shirley Moorhouse’s work, particularly her intricately detailed and tactile wallhangings that weave together cultural traditions, stories and inspirations from her daily life. I am particularly enamored with her wall hanging To Honour the Firekeepers (2020) that was commissioned for the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq. After completing this artistic achievement, Moorhouse found herself searching for new inspiration, and is now working towards her Master of Fine Arts at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like her wallhangings, this IAQ digital artist project—the last for 2022—weaves together her lived experiences and her art, using poetry and drawings to detail her journey from Labrador to Newfoundland to begin this new chapter in her life.
–Lisa Frenette, Associate Editor
Bronson Jacque Character Concept Art (2022)© THE ARTIST
A Game of Legends Artist Project Series
Over the past year, I met regularly with Nunatsiavut artist and IAQ Contributing Editor Bronson Jacque as he wrote a series of posts about developing his debut video game, which threads Inuit legends together with a personal narrative. It’s been an incredible experience watching the project grow, and to see how deeply Bronson has ensured the accuracy of every visual detail, from the natural geography of his home in Postville, Nunatsiavut, NL, to the duct tape holding together a ripped Ski-Doo seat and how he used his grandmother’s real-life patterns to construct digital parkas for his characters. Although it's easy to get swept away in the beauty of Bronson’s art, this game showcases his storytelling prowess and I can’t wait to reach the next level.
–Sue Carter, Deputy Editor