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New Glenn Gear Mural Combines Kaleidoscopic Design with Inuit Culture

May 10, 2024
by IAQ

Glenn Gear’s entrancing digital collage TakKik rising (2024) officially opens on Saturday, May 11, at Onsite Gallery in downtown Toronto, ON. A kaleidoscopic combination of symmetry, geometry and traditional Inuit craft, the mural reflects Gear’s practice as an interdisciplinary artist while paying homage to his Nunatsiavut ancestry. 

The mural is the sixth in the Up Front: Inuit Public Art series, which, in partnership with the Inuit Art Foundation, supports a series of commissioned digital murals by Inuit artists, each temporarily exhibited on the exterior walls of Onsite Gallery. Gear’s mural is on view from May to August and also runs concurrently with the 28th CONTACT Photography Festival, an annual Toronto-wide festival during the month of May that celebrates the work of contemporary photographers and lens-based artists through exhibitions and public art installations. 

The word TakKik in the mural’s title means “moon” in Labrador Inuttut, alluding to its cyclical imagery that celebrates the moon and the natural cycles of time. Set against a black backdrop dotted with stars, a tiered circular image explodes into rings of purples, blues and whites. At its centre, six moon faces gaze inward as a starburst of patterns, reminiscent of intricate Inuit designs in beadwork, simultaneously burst outward. Gear was inspired by photographs of beadwork and sealskin projects, along with collected materials like driftwood, caribou antler and mussel shells, which are at the foundation of the design. The mural is a testament to Gear’s ability to combine the arts of photography, textile and collage into a single work. 

TakKik rising_Onsite_3

“I think a lot of outsiders do not see Indigenous cultures as dynamic,” [1] Gear told the IAQ in 2019, “but rather something that’s fixed in time and place and behind museum glass. Whereas, for a lot of Inuit, I think we really see the ways in which we are interwoven with new and emerging technologies.”

Based in Montreal, QC, Gear is originally from Corner Brook, NL, with family ties to Nunatsiavut. He works primarily as an animator, filmmaker and visual artist and explores his Inuk identity through these artistic practices, which are also informed by Inuit and Indigenous ways of knowing. Gear’s animation work has been featured in the film The Fifth Region (2018) as well as Tanya Tagaq’s, CM, film Ever Deadly (2023), where he collaborated to animate the drawings of Shuvinai Ashoona, RCA. His work was also featured in the exhibition INUA (2021–2023) at the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq in Manitoba. In 2021 Gear made the longlist for the Sobey Art Award, and in 2023 he was longlisted for the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award.  

TakKik rising_Onsite_2

The Up Front series began with 2023 Sobey Art Award Winner Kablusiak’s pink ookpiks from April to November 2022, followed by Kyle Natkusiak Aleekuk’s tattoo art from November 2022 to March 2023. Later, Robert Kautuk’s aerial view photography adorned the facade of Onsite Gallery from April to August 2023, then Tarralik Duffy’s pop art–inspired soda cans from September to December 2023. Jessica Winters, who was just longlisted for the 2024 Sobey Art Award, began the new year with her mural depicting school life in Nunatsiavut, from January to April 2024. Gear’s run officially starts on May 11, 2024, with an artist talk at Onsite Gallery from 12 to 2pm. The 2023 Bonavista Biennale Catalogue will also launch during this event. Curated by Inuit Art Foundation Board Member Ryan Rice and Rose Bouthillier, the Biennale included Gear’s immersive installation katitsuik | collect, gather among 32 other projects on the Bonavista Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador. 


[1] Emily Laurent Henderson, "Glenn Gear: Circumpolar Cinema," Inuit Art Quarterly, Summer 2019.

Up Front is made possible with the support from the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnership Fund and the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts.


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