May 10 – September 5, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 10 at 7 pm
Sealing, Artistic Expression, and Inuit Resilience
Featuring works by Alethea Anarquq-Baril, Katherine Takpannie, Couzyn van Heuvelen, and Tanya Tagaq, as well as selected works from the AGG’s permanent collections by Pitseolak Ashoona, Tivi Etook, Koopinoak Evalak, David Issigaitok, Anautaq Kiatainaq, Anna Kingwatsiak, Iyola Kingwatsiak, Pootoogook Ningeookaluk, Jessie Oonark, Peesee Oshuitoq, Josie Papialuk, Parr, Peter Pitseolak, Nancy Pukingrnak Aupaluktuq, Simon Sigyareak, Nick Sikkuark, Harry Surusila, and Jamasie Teevee.
Inspired by Inuk filmmaker Alethea Anarquq-Baril’s award-winning documentary Angry Inuk, this exhibition is grounded in intergenerational art and activism that speaks to the central role of the seal and seal hunting within Inuit culture and society. Considered a critically important Indigenous right to Inuit communities and essential to sustainability, the practice has been dramatically impacted by international bans and protests since the 1980s that have failed to engage the Inuit themselves. As Anarquq-Baril’s film shows, these campaigns have long used misinformation, images of the clubbing of baby seals, for example, a method long banned and never practiced by the Inuit.
Bringing together contemporary works as well as artworks from the AGG’s permanent collections, Getting Under Our Skin highlights the primacy of lived traditions and their transformation in visual culture as acts of resistance and resilience. Key to the exhibition are the voices, ideas, and actions of an emerging generation of Inuit, including youth living in Guelph and students from Ottawa’s Nunavut Sivuniksavut college program who recently staged a Pro Seal Hunt Rally on Parliament Hill (March 28, 2018) – a hybrid fashion show, dance performance, and protest, documented by Katherine Takpannie. Excerpts from Angry Inuk, a music video from Tanya Tagaq’s Polaris Prize winning album Animism, and Couzyn van Heuvelen’s Avataq provide a contemporary contrast to the prints, sculptures, and drawings of generations who experienced life on the land and the forced transition to settlements. Getting Under Our Skin continues the AGG’s forty-year commitment to Indigenous culture and reflects a critical engagement with food security and sustainable communities prominent in the Guelph region.
Works from the AGG’s extensive collection of Inuit art have been selected for the exhibition by four Inuit youth in dialogue with Andrew Hunter, AGG Senior Curator. Parr Etidloie (Cape Dorset/Ottawa), Avianna Ulliaq Alaingaq Mackenzie (Rankin Inlet/Ottawa), Albie Sheldon (Guelph), and Katherine Takpannie (Ottawa) have each selected drawings, prints, and sculptures they feel speak to the importance of seals and sealing to Inuit culture as well as to their personal experiences and memories. For a recent podcast featuring Parr Etidloie (great-grandson of the artist Parr), Avianna Ulliaq Alaingaq Mackenzie, and Katherine Takpannie in conversation with Andrew Hunter, please visit: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-kamfa-902c73
Getting Under Our Skin is curated by Andrew Hunter with the participation of Parr Etidloie, Avianna Ulliaq Alaingaq Mackenzie, Albie Sheldon, and Katherine Takpannie and presented by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Image: Katherine Takpannie, Pro Sealing Rally, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, featuring Inuit throat singers Leanna Wilson and Tooma Dianna Laisa, March, 2018