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News Roundup: Tautuktavuk (What We See) Wins Award at TIFF

Sep 28, 2023
by IAQ

Record attendance for Bonavista Biennale

This year’s Bonavista Biennale saw a record number of visitors come out to see the works of 23 artists (including five Inuit among them), whose projects took over the 165 km route along the Bonavista Peninsula on Newfoundland’s east coast. After a month-long run, the Biennale closed on September 17 having welcomed more than 15,000 visitors, three times the attendance from 2021.  

Among the Inuit works on display, Couzyn van Heuvelen installed pieces from his Nitsiit (2017–present) series—brightly coloured, oversized fishing lures that ask viewers to consider whether our relationship to lands and waters is one of responsible balance or excessive consumption—on the cliff face of Maberly Lookout. Billy Gauthier created an original sculpture out of a 600 lb fin whale skull. Carved on site over seven days, The Earth, Our Mother (2023) is a love letter from Gauthier to the Earth, depicting her surrounded by her skies, waters, mountains, sun and moon. 

Three murals by Jessica Winters were on display at the Biennale: Greenland (2022), Perry’s Team (2022) and Hopedale (2023), the latter of which was jointly commissioned by the Bonavista Biennale, the Inuit Art Foundation, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project and Onsite Gallery at OCAD University. An immersive installation that featured sound and embedded projections onto sealskin by Glenn Gear, titled katitsuik | collect, gather (2023), was thematically linked to the artist’s concurrent exhibition at The Rooms, while sculptures and wall hangings by Shirley Moorhouse considered the ever-changing natural, social and geopolitical boundaries of Labrador by combining traditional methods and materials with unusual materials.

Tautuktavuk (What We See) wins Amplify Voices Award at TIFF

The Amplify Voices Award for Best BIPOC Canadian First Feature film, which recognizes under-represented filmmakers in Canada, was this year won by Tautuktavuk (What We See) (2023) announced jurors on the closing day of the Toronto International Film Festival. Co-directors Carol Kunnuk and Lucy Tulugarjuk star in the film as two sisters who connect over Zoom during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to talk about a particularly traumatic night that caused one sister to leave Iglulik, NU, for Montreal, QC. 

In a statement, the jury described the film as “powerful self-representation,” and praised Kunnuk and Tulugarjuk for “powerfully navigating difficult and necessary conversations from a place of unapologetic ownership and unwavering communal care.” A story told distinctly from the perspective of Inuit women, the filmmakers hope that Tautuktavuk (What We See) will open conversations about domestic and gendered violence in the North. 

Shannon Harvey becomes Indigenous Cultural Liaison at The Rooms

In this newly created position, Inuk cultural organizer Shannon Harvey will be working to strengthen and expand ties with Indigenous community partners both through exhibitions and public programming at The Rooms in St John’s, NL. Harvey, who is from Nain, Nunatsiavut, NL, and grew up in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, previously worked as an exhibition manager in Ottawa, ON, before moving to St. John’s ten years ago, where she worked as a community advocate with First Voice, an Indigenous advocacy coalition. Most recently, she served as the Arts and Culture Coordinator for First Light, a non-profit that serves the urban Indigenous population of St John’s, helping to organize the Spirit Song Festival. As the Indigenous Cultural Liaison at The Rooms, Harvey looks forward to connecting with the many Indigenous communities throughout all of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Construction begins on new cultural campus in Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), NU

The Kitikmeot Heritage Society broke ground this September on a new cultural campus in Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay), NU, called Kuugalak, with the aim of preserving Inuit traditions and culture in the region. The new facility will provide modern, purpose-built spaces in the main building and outdoor areas including features like cooled floors for butchering animals and heated floors for teaching and other activities. Elders have played a significant role throughout the development of Kuugalak to ensure it meets the community’s specific needs. 

Kuugalak will also focus on climate change adaptation by using energy-efficient materials and assessing the feasibility of new technologies, such as incorporating solar tiling on walkways in Arctic conditions. The facilities will be constructed and maintained by Iqaluktuuttiaq-based firms, reducing the environmental impact of flying in outside labour. The project has been in development for five years thus far, and has an estimated cost of around $4 million, funded primarily by federal and territorial governments. Exterior work is expected to be completed by October or November, with interior work completed for a January 2024 opening.

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