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A textile artwork showing the top half of a woman's face with traditional Inuit tattoos on her cheeks.

ᑲᔪHᐃᐅᑎHᐃᒪᔭᑦᑲ | Kajuhiutihimajatka (What I’m Carrying On)

Curated by

Taqralik Partridge and Shauna McCabe

Kajuhiutihimajatka: What I’m Carrying On brings the work of artist Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona in dialogue with that of artists Victoria Mamnguqsualuk and Jessie Oonark. Beginning a creative residency with the gallery’s collection in 2021, Kabloona encountered a number of prints, drawings, and textiles created by Mamnguqsualuk, her grandmother, and Oonark, her great-grandmother, that she had not seen before. While the multidisciplinary artist’s practice often speaks directly to the Inuit stories and symbols she has inherited, this exhibition highlights her first engagement with this family legacy. Created in response to the visual narratives of her ancestors, her wall hanging, Tiriganiaq, allows Kabloona to explore traditional Inuit legends through a feminist lens.

At the same time, Kajuhiutihimajatka brings into sharp relief the historical relationship of museums and Inuit communities, particularly the distance they have imposed between artworks and makers, as well as their families and descendants. A response to the decontextualization at the heart of the way museums have collected, Kajuhiutihimajatka offers a self-conscious look at this history, making that a visible aspect of the exhibition. Bringing together works from the collection with well-loved family belongings such as handmade clothing made by the artists, the exhibition highlights a continuous thread of creativity between art and the everyday.

Image detail: Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona, Tiriganiaq (detail), 2022, felt, embroidered thread, 116.8 x 95.9 cm. Photo credit: Shelby Lisk


Kajuhiutihimajatka: What I’m Carrying On is presented by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of Canadian Heritage through the Museums Assistance Program.

About the artists

Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona

Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona is a multidisciplinary artist from Ottawa, ON, who creates ceramics, prints, graphic art, wallhangings, knitwear and more. Kabloona’s work is inspired by the art of her grandmother, Victoria Mamnguqsualuk, and the colours and bold shapes of her great-grandmother, Jessie Oonark, and often incorporates traditional Inuit stories told through a modern, feminist lens.

Victoria Mamnguqsualuk

Victoria Mamnguqsualuk spent her childhood in the Back River area of the Northwest Territories and moved to Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU, in 1963. She is one of the best-known Inuit artists of her generation. Mamnguqsualuk practiced her art in many forms including drawing, printing, textiles and sculpture. She was one of artist Jessie Oonark’s (1906–1985) children, many of whom became well-known artists including Janet Kigusiuq, Nancy Pukingrak, Peggy Qablunaaq Aittauq, Mary Yuusipik Singaqti, Joshua Nuilaalik, Miriam Marealik Qiyuk and William Noah.

Jessie Oonark

Jessie (Una) Oonark was born near the Haningayok (Back River), Nunavut and was named after her paternal grandfather, Una. Oonark lived the first fifty years of her life in Utkusiksalingmiut camps throughout the region. She pursued traditional tasks, such as processing and sewing caribou and sealskin to produce clothing. The aesthetic qualities of this work would later influence her depiction of Inuit life in drawings and tapestries.

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