Jessica Winters, Jesse James Ford, Seth Ford, Hannah Gear and Michelle Nochasak Untitled (2020) Acrylic and varnish, Frank’s General Store, Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, NL All images cOURTESY THE ARTIST
From the Chauvet Cave of Southern France to the internationally renowned art of Banksy, humans have been creating murals for over 30,000 years. In this Portfolio we celebrate the colourful murals of five Inuit artists across Canada.
Jessica Winters is a Nunatsiavummiut painter, curator and environmental scientist who had been planning to produce a mural project in her hometown of Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, NL, for over a year. Drawing inspiration from the murals she had seen across the circumpolar world, particularly in Greenland, Winters was eager to display the artistic talents of her own region.
After discussing her idea with a friend, Winters applied for funding from the Nunatsiavut Department of Education and Economic Development to support the project—the first large-scale mural in the Nunatsiavut region.
Upon receiving approval, Winters put out a call for youth applicants to join her to “show off [their] talents and beautify [their] community.” Her team included four local youth who worked with her over two months to design and paint the mural. Like other mural projects in this Portfolio, the team chose to work with an environmental theme featuring an ocean scene with a bowhead whale and other marine mammals important to Inuit as food, clothing and lamp oil.
An added benefit of the mural work was the amusement the team felt with the reactions of the community, particularly with daily questions from local kids watching them prime and apply the design. It drew out parents and youth hoping to get involved in future projects. “I’m super proud and I hope that it inspires people a little bit, and that it makes them feel happy when they see the mural,” Winters said. Public murals have the power to create pride among community members, and Winters was particularly happy to share the talent of Makkovik’s young, burgeoning artists with their town.
Feature was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of the
Inuit Art Quarterly.
Find More Inuit Muralists Bringing Colour to the North