Inuit Art at National Museum of Wildlife Art
On October 21 the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, debuted its first exhibition dedicated to Inuit art. Transformations: Wildlife in Inuit Art and Culture features approximately 70 works that examine spiritual and cultural relationships between animals and humans in the North. Transformations features a number of pieces on loan from a Toronto gallery that have never been publicly exhibited before, alongside works donated to the museum from a private collection in 2020. Artists in the exhibition include Ashevak Adla, Emily Pangnerk Illuitok (1943–2012) and Napachie Pootoogook (1938–2002). Curator Tammi Hanawalt says, “Most importantly, I want to bring attention to the fact that today Inuit artists are producing powerful artworks that reference histories and that, at the same time, confront contemporary issues such as conservation and environmental concerns.” The exhibition will be on display until May 5, 2024.
Inhabit Books in Toronto
Inhabit Books is set to open a new bookstore in the Toronto neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant Village this month, bringing “a little slice of Nunavut [to] southern Canada.” Established in 2006, the Iqaluit, NU–based publishing company has been considering opening a company bookstore for a number of years to better represent Arctic voices and provide more direct access to books not normally carried by southern retailers. The Inhabit Books store will sell books published by Inhabit Media, Arvaaq Press (formerly Inhabit Education) and NAC Media, Nunavut Arctic College’s press. Co-founders Louise Flaherty, Neil Christopher and Danny Christopher hope to share authentic stories, traditional perspectives and contemporary lived experiences from Nunavut with a southern Canadian audience. The official opening date for Inhabit Books is November 25, but the store will likely open to the public before then.
Piita Irniq Builds Inuksuk at Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum (PMAM) is now home to a new inuksuk built by artist and former commissioner of Nunavut Piita Irniq. The inuksuk was recently installed on a hill near the museum on the grounds of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Irniq and a local stone mason sourced the stones for the sculpture from several locations around Maine last summer. Irniq is well known for building inuksuit around the world—including at The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, and the British Museum in London, UK—as representations of Inuit survival and reconciliation. Inuksuit are human-made stone landmarks or cairns, usually placed on an elevated surface, that mark a place of significance on the land. The idea to build an inuksuk was first proposed by Irniq when he visited Bowdoin College in 2012, but the question of location was unresolved until recently when the PMAM relocated to the newly built John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies. The window created between the stones of Irniq’s inuksuk at the PMAM points North, towards Inuit homelands in the Arctic.
The awards ceremony for the 2023 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival took place on October 21, with 8 of the 16 awards presented to circumpolar Indigenous filmmakers. AYKUO (2023), an experimental short film by Sakha director Ayaal Adamov, won the Innovation in Storytelling Award. The Live Action Short Award—imagineNATIVE’s Oscar-qualifying category—went to Lindsay McIntyre's (The South Wind) (2023). Winners of the Live Action Short Award are submitted to the Academy of Motion Pictures and Film Arts and Sciences to be considered for an Oscar. "Grape Soda in the Parking Lot" (2023), co-directed by Megan Kyak-Monteith and Taqralik Partridge took home both the Animated Short and Documentary Short Awards. Sámi filmmaker Inga Elin Marakat’s directorial and screenwriting debut Unborn Biru (2023) was also a double winner, earning the New Voices in Storytelling Award and the Jeff Barnaby Award. The Moon Jury Award went to Сu-Ckoo (2023), a short film from Yakut director Evgeny Nikolaev, while the Sun Jury Award went to Carol Kunnuk and Lucy Tulugarjuk for Tautuktavuk (What We See) (2023).
Tanya Tagaq Presents Annual Eva Holtby Program and Screens Immersive Film at the ROM
On November 14 acclaimed throat singer, composer and author Tanya Tagaq, CM, presented the Eva Holtby Program on Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, ON. Presented annually since 2006, the Eva Holtby Program brings powerful voices to the ROM to discuss provocative and engaging contemporary ideas. This year’s program began with a conversation between Tagaq and multimedia artist Omar Rivera, who produces art under the name Driftnote, moderated by City of Toronto Photo Laureate Nadya Kwandibens. Tagaq and Rivera recently collaborated on Ajagutaq/Parhelion (2022), an immersive film inspired by a dream and an excerpt from Tagaq’s novel, Split Tooth (2018), which screened at the ROM that evening. Tagaq also performed with a throat singing choir alongside esteemed Inuit performers Nancy Mike, Varna Marianne Nielsen Apaloo and Charlotte Qamaniq, accompanied by drummer Jean Martin and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler.