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News Roundup: Inuit Designers Present Collections at New York Fashion Week

Feb 23, 2024
by IAQ

April Allen and Victoria Kakuktinniq Bring Inuit Designs to New York Fashion Week

Inuit fashion designers April Allen (Stitched by April) and Victoria Kakuktinniq (Victoria’s Arctic Fashion) presented new collections at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) earlier this month. Originally from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, NL, Allen works primarily with beading and sealskin; her collection presented at NYFW included a sealskin dress and detailed boots, as well as a leather dress with sealskin and silver fox fur. Kakuktinniq, who is originally from Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), NU, combines traditional and modern designs and materials in her work; she presented several jackets with sealskin and leather detailing on the runway. Allen and Kakuktinniq’s participation in NYFW represents the increasing visibility of Inuit fashion on a global stage. In recent years, Kakuktinniq has showcased her designs at Paris Fashion Week and in 2022 collaborated with Canada Goose to create a collection of parkas for Project Atigi. Allen has also been busy recently: in November she participated in Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week and designed a pair of custom boots for True Detective: Night Country actor Kali Reis, which she debuted on The Kelly Clarkson Show in February. 

Nunatsiavut Government Presents Inaugural Cultural Preservation Awards

The Nunatsiavut Government presented its inaugural Inuttitut and Cultural Preservation Recognition Awards, which highlights individuals who are committed to preserving and actively sharing the Inuttitut language and Inuit culture with others in Nunatsiavut. Educator and artist Maria Merkuratsuk won the Cultural Preservation Award. Originally from Nain, Nunatsiavut, NL, Merkuratsuk has worked with several organizations to facilitate culturally specific workshops, including those that focus on cleaning and preparing sealskin, sewing traditional clothing and speaking Inuktitut. Merkuratsuk’s artwork was featured in the 2017 nationally touring exhibition SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut. Language teacher Nicholas Flowers from Hopedale, Nunatsiavut, NL, was also a recipient, winning the Inuttitut Award.


Nunavik Musician Elisapie Nominated for Two JUNO Awards

Musician, filmmaker and writer Elisapie is nominated for two 2024 JUNO Awards: Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year and Album Artwork of the Year for her 2023 album, Inuktitut. Born and raised in Salluit, Nunavik, QC, and now based in Montreal, QC, Elisapie has been performing as a musician since 1998 and is known for often mixing English, French and Inuktitut into her work. Elisapie’s album Inuktitut features Inuktitut covers of well-known songs by Blondie, Fleetwood Mac, Metallica and more, with each song representing a memory from her childhood. Elisapie has been nominated for JUNO Awards before—in 2005 her album TAINA won Aboriginal Recording of the Year. The awards will be presented on March 24 in Halifax, NS.  

Sculptor Sammy Kudluk Takes Part in 2024 Quebec Winter Carnival

On February 11, artist Sammy Kudluk presented an ice sculpture depicting two Inuit women holding a qulliq at the 2024 Quebec Winter Carnival in Quebec City, QC. Hailing from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, QC, Kudluk has been refining his painting and sculpting skills for almost 50 years. Ice sculpting is a relatively new practice for Kudluk, whose first experience working with ice was five years earlier at the ice hotel in Sainte-Foy, QC. For Kudluk, participation in this year’s Winter Carnival was a reminder of the significance of art and community. Currently, he runs a soapstone sculpture shop in Kuujjuaq and plans to compete in local art competitions.

Ningiukulu Teevee Solo Exhibition Opens in London, UK

On February 8, 2024 Kinngait-based graphic artist Ningiukulu Teevee’s solo exhibition Ningiukulu Teevee: Stories from Kinngait opened at Canada House in London, UK, which features 26 of the artist’s prints and was organized in partnership between the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq and the High Commission of Canada in the UK. Known for her skillful visual storytelling and playful drawings and prints that depict historical and contemporary aspects of Inuit culture, Teevee’s artworks sit in numerous public and private collections around the world. To date, her work has been featured in more than 40 global exhibitions, including 10 solo shows—this exhibition marks Teevee’s first solo in Europe. In September 2023 she became the third artist to win the Inuit Art Foundation’s Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award, which includes a cash prize and a forthcoming solo exhibition at the WAG-Qaumajuq. Ningiukulu Teevee: Stories from Kinngait is on view at Canada House until June 1.

Sobey Art Award Adds New Circumpolar Region to Nomination Process

Nominations for the 2024 Sobey Art Award have officially opened, and a sixth region, Circumpolar, has been added to the nomination process. The Circumpolar region includes Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and exists alongside the five established regions, two of which have been renamed. These regions include: Pacific (formerly West Coast and Yukon), Prairies (formerly Prairies and North), Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic. This addition represents the National Gallery of Canada’s and Sobey Art Foundation’s commitment to recognizing and supporting artistic excellence in the North and providing a platform for these artists’ voices and perspectives. The new category has also increased the total prize money to $465,000 and ensures that at least five longlisted artists and one shortlisted artist come from the region. Applications are open until Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The longlist, featuring 30 artists, will be announced on April 30, 2024.

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