October 3 to November 24, 2019
From October 3 to November 24, 2019, La Guilde, in partnership with Concordia University and Air Borealis, proudly presents the collective exhibition Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land which brought together 25 artists:
Based on a jury selection, following a call for artists which focused only on artists from Nunatsiavut, the Inuit region of Labrador, the artwork by these artists covered the previous five years of artistic production. In total, more than forty artworks realized by established and emerging artists were exhibited, including photographs, sculptures, paintings, drawings and artworks linked to the fine arts, all related to the theme of an engagement with “their beautiful land’’, through subject matter, material or medium.
“Artists from Nunatsiavut (the Inuit region of Labrador) have, until very recently, been hidden from the spotlight that shines on Inuit art in Canada. Left out of the early initiatives that supported the development of today’s thriving contemporary Inuit art ecosystem, Nunatsiavummiut artists living far from urban centres have been hindered from sharing their talents with the world until recently. Following the success of the first nationally touring exhibition SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut (2015-2019) which introduced new audiences to Inuit art from Labrador, Canada and the world has begun to embrace the diverse, powerful and expressive works created by the artists who call Nunatsiavut their homelands.”
- Dr. Heather Igloliorte
Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land was seen through the theme of land and territory. This theme was quite broad, allowing artists to unleash their creativity and to interpret in their own way what ‘Our Beautiful Land’ means to them. Hence, some artists created art pieces using local materials, while others demonstrated interest in themes like tradition, colonization, environment and climate change. This was in fact the case with Caribou lost in Shadow by photographer Eldred Allen who shows by aerial view (using a drone) a lonely caribou away from his herd, an increasingly more common reality in Arctic regions, the first regions affected by climate change. This work of art is also much more interesting, since it sheds light on new and innovative forms of expression and shows how new technologies are an integral part of Inuit communities. Most of the artworks presented were somewhere between both tradition and modernity.
Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land was an important and necessary project to increase the outreach of artists from the Northeast coast of Inuit Nunangat. Artists from Nunatsiavut are nearly absent from contemporary publications on Canadian Inuit art. Besides the precursor exhibition curated by Heather Igloliorte titled SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut in 2015 which was extremely successful (but not presented in Montreal), no other exhibition has given such an extensive overview of the artistic production of this community. Hence, we have had very few opportunities to learn about their distinct history and ancestral knowledge as transmitted from generation to generation through the arts, language and tradition. Recognizing the essential work of these artists and offering them a space to display their artwork has always been one of the most important mandates of La Guilde.
INUIT STUDIES CONFERENCE
The Inuit Studies Conference (ISC) is a multidisciplinary and international conference that brings together university researchers and students, as well as professionals, directors, teachers, decision-makers, etc. from Inuit organizations, institutions, and governments. It is the largest academic conference in the world about Inuit peoples and territories. The conference also includes cultural and artistic activities of interest to the general public. The conference was held from October 3rd to October 6th, 2019 at Complexe des sciences Pierre-Dansereau at UQÀM.