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What Collage and Identity Mean to One Inuk Artist

Oct 07, 2020
by Emily Henderson

Pulling disparate pieces into a cohesive whole and exploring complex feelings about identity and belonging distinguish Leanne Inuarak-Dall’s deepening collage practice. While it may not immediately resemble a traditional self-portrait, her composite work Qittianituu (2019), meaning “in the middle,” is a reflection of her identity as an Inuk woman raised in the South of Canada, away from her ancestral land. In Qittianituu, she pairs rapid sketches of her own face and body alongside synthetic materials such as bubble wrap and sheer polyester that invoke the Arctic landscape and northern lights, and sets these symbolic fragments of her identity against a backdrop of images of nuna clipped directly from an issue of Inuit Art Quarterly. 

“There are photos of the land that I didn’t grow up on and I have to contend with my only access to it being in a magazine,” she reflects. “I am always wondering what I am able to claim. And the viscous black ink in Qittianituu represents a fluidity I feel in my identity.”

Despite her ever-evolving relationship to her identity, Inuarak-Dall finds a sense  of freedom through collage, moving pieces at will to satisfy her aesthetic goals. A multidisciplinary artist, her pieces often take many layered forms, transforming from sketched concept art to collage and sometimes reaching their final incarnation in a woven tapestry. 

This piece originally appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.

Shortly after we interviewed her for this piece, Inuarak-Dall joined the IAQ team as a Contributing Editor. See what she’s written so far:

9 Hunting and Fishing Artworks That Will Reel You In

10 Buzzy Mosquito Artworks

And follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get her bi-weekly Artist Spotlights on contemporary and historical figures in Inuit art!


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