Inuit Women Artists

“I started to see how women think, how they have an artistic way of forming things, like carvings, sewing, any female art… That’s what I started realizing… that women have real important roles… I realized that women can do a lot. Women are very capable They have been very capable for a long time, but it is just now that their capabilities are coming out in the open.”

Oopik Pitsiulak

I’ve had the honour and privilege of assisting with the curation of an Inuit art exhibition at York University’s Goldfarb Gallery of Arts, entitled Echoes. Despite many years of studying art, this was my first introduction into the Inuit art world. Echoes presented the work of two contemporary Inuit artists – Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Taqralik Partridge, in collaboration with Jamie Griffiths. The work involved related to the idea of an echo, and to nipi – the Inuktitut word that best describes sound as it is understood as a translation into English. Echoes of Inuit traditional culture and history are strongly linked to the identity of Inuit today. From first-hand experience, the work of Inuit women artists carries resilience, love, vitality, and intelligence that is deeply rooted in nature.

Silaup Putunga has two root words: Putoq, which means hole, and Sila, which has multiple meanings. Sila means weather, atmosphere, intellect, universe, equilibrium. Sila Putunga can be understood to be a portal into a different reality. Filmed in Tikkup Kangiqtunga, a location 30 km from Iqaluit, in winter, the film features Inuk performance artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and the voice of Celina Kalluk. The film uses uaajeerneq as a structure to be able to study the realms of the sen and the unseen , the sinking through skin and mail to be able to connect with the land and ice, and draws on myth and surrealism.
Lucy Qinnuayuak, Women Carrying Fish, 1972.

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