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Inuit Art Must-Sees at Nuit Blanche 2022

Sep 23, 2022
by Lisa Frenette

Nuit Blanche 2022, Toronto’s all-night contemporary art fest, is on Saturday, October 1. The theme for this year—The Space Between Us—highlights the connections and knowledge we can share with each other despite our differences of time and place. Brought to fruition by curatorial theme and artistic director Julie Nagam, attendees will be immersed in installations dispersed throughout North York, Etobicoke, Scarborough and downtown Toronto. There will be more than 150 artworks from local, national and international artists, including several Inuit artists. Here is where you can find and enjoy Inuit art at this year’s Nuit Blanche:

Sculptural Installations & Exhibitions

Couzyn Van Heuvelen - Avataq Installation

Couzyn van Heuvelen
Avataq (2016) Screen-printed mylar, ribbon, aluminum, helium, 40 x 76.2 cm
Courtesy Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver © THE ARTIST



It’s Couzyn van Heuvelen’s Nuit Blanche, and we’re all just living in it. In addition to his installations as part of the Power Plant’s Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity exhibition, the Iqaluit, NU, artist’s Avataq series brings Inuit culture to three locations across the city. A massive 30-foot inflatable foil balloon, screenprinted to mimic the marine hunting tool, will take over Yonge and Temperance streets. A small pod will attract passersby at 10 Bay Street, while a massive group of up to 2,000 avataqs will shimmer and bob inside Scarborough Town Centre, an experience not to be missed.

Mark Igloliorte Saputiit - Fish Weir Skate Plaza

Mark Igloliorte
Saputiit - Fish Weir Skate Plaza (2022)

Saputiit – Fish Weir Skate Plaza 

Yonge and Dundas Square

One of the most exciting elements of Nuit Blanche is the “blink and you’ll miss” installations, like Mark Igloliorte’s Saputiit – Fish Weir Skate Plaza, which will transform the bustling Yonge and Dundas Square into a skatepark for the night. The Nunatsiavut artist often employs physical skateboards into his art practice, taking his passion for the sport and drawing attention to its Indigenous roots. Igloliorte’s skatepark is inspired by Inuit stone arrangements in the Arctic, the skaters’ movements mimicking the flow of fish spawning. And if four wheels aren’t your thing, you can still participate by adding virtual Arctic char to the scene via a special augmented reality (AR) app on your mobile phone.

Kablusiak Mural at Onsite Gallery
Kablusiak Mural at Onsite Gallery COURTESY ONSITE GALLERY

Up Front - Onsite Gallery at OCAD University
199 Richmond Street West

Onsite Gallery and the Inuit Art Foundation have partnered together to bring the series Up Front to the gallery’s windows on Richmond Street West. Viewers can feast their eyes on the first in the series: multi-talented Inuvialuk artist Kablusiak’s mural of Plucked Ookpik (2021) and Furby Ookpik (2021).  

Sonya Kelliher-Combs - Idiot Strings

Sonya Kelliher-Combs
Idiot Strings (2022) Printed fabric, wool, steel wire, nylon thread, glass beads© the artist

Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity 

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 231 Queens Quay West

Featuring work from Couzyn van Heuvelen, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Máret Anne Sara, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Outi Pieski and many more, Arctic/Amazon: Networks of Global Indigeneity connects artists from these two environmentally sensitive regions to foreground Indigenous ways of knowing and being and affirm each artist’s connection to the land. Curated by Gerald McMaster, the show endeavors to challenge outsider visions of the Arctic, the Amazon and the people living there.

Maureen Gruben - Moving with joy across the ice while my face turns brown from the sun

Maureen Gruben
Moving with joy across the ice while my face turns brown from the sun (2019)


30 Yonge Street

Featuring nine silver fox skin stretchers reimagined to enormous proportions, Kagisaaluq was created by celebrated Tuktuuyaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), Inuvialuit Settlement Region, NT, artist Maureen Gruben, who in 2021 was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award. This installation, of which a portion is available in augmented reality, is meant to reflect on how integral hunting and trapping practices have been to Canada’s history, the ways in which “Canada” has been shaped by different cultures and traditions, and the connectivity between urban and rural life. 

Ørjan Marakatt Bertelsen - Portrait of Inger Ellen Baal

Ørjan Marakatt Bertelsen
Portrait of Inger Ellen Baal (2021)
© the artist

Land of None | Land of Us 

80 Spadina Avenue, Suite 205

In this installation, which was part of the Arctic Arts Summit from June 25–29 earlier this year and co-organized by the Inuit Art Foundation, attendees will enjoy a collection of contemporary circumpolar photography. Land of None | Land of Us challenges preconceived notions of the North as barren and empty. Through photographs, participating artists transport the tradition, practices and knowledge to viewers' eyes and the centre of urban Toronto. 

Video & Sound Installations

Casey Koyczan Ełeghàà; - All At Once

Casey Koyczan
Ełeghàà; All At Once (still) (2022)

ÁRRAN 360° + Arctic XR

Video installation
225 Queens Quay West

As part of an extended program of the Sámi Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, ÁRRAN 360° and Arctic XR will be presented at Nuit Blanche. ÁRRAN 360° brings original films by six Sámi artists from across Sápmi and Arctic XR features films by six Indigenous artists including Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Nyla Innuksuk, Mark Igloliorte and Tanya Tagaq. Viewers of the films will enjoy being immersed in a combination of storytelling and technology as they view the films on 360-degree screens specially designed for the project.

In this video installation, singer, composer and author Tanya Tagaq combines words from her acclaimed novel Split Tooth with imagery of the landscape of Nunavut, transporting audiences to an adaptation of one of her dreams. Directed by digital multimedia artist Driftnote (Omar Rivero) and composition by Daedelus (Alfred Darlington), arctic life merges with the spirit realm through this visual storytelling masterpiece. 

Director Nyla Innuksuk will immerse viewers in a wrap around screen in this video installation commissioned for Nuit Blanche. In Mikigiaq, an inexperienced hunter goes on a journey to hunt foxes in the nearby woods, which leads him to something he did not expect. In a similar vein to Slash/Back (2020), which Innuksuk wrote and produced, viewers will enjoy the journey of this visual thriller.     

In this video installation—created by, directed by and starring Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory—viewers enjoy a virtual reality experience of an imaginary tiny island called the Republic of Tartupaluk. The experience combines elements of 360-degree live-action video, motion-capture animation and visual effects to transport viewers into this world of imagination and humour. 

Through this video installation, Mark Igloliorte brings viewers an upclose view of a skateboard session with Indigenous professional skateboarder Joe Buffalo and local skaters Riel Stevenson-Burke and Joel Dragon Smith on the Dettah Ice Road over the frozen Great Slave Lake. 

  Tanya Tagaq - Ajagutaq/Parhelion

Tanya Tagaq
 Ajagutaq/Parhelion (2022)


Sound Installation
Yonge Street & Queen Street West

This sound installation by singer, composer and author Tanya Tagaq will echo off the walls of downtown Toronto buildings, immersing attendees in the sounds of call and response throat singing along with deep breathing. The sounds will beckon those listening to travel the busy artery of Toronto’s downtown core while observing the urban landscape around them. 


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