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East Coast
Anna Taylor
SakKijajuk at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
August 16, 2017

SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut is a large collection of works that chronicles generations of artists from a vast Inuit region in northern subarctic Labrador. Independent curator and scholar Heather Igloliorte crafted this selection originally for The Rooms in St. John’s and has toured the exhibit here to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. SakKijâjuk means “to be visible” and with this exhibition Igloliorte has succeeded in presenting a clear representation of an artistic community along with a knowledge of Nunatsiavut’s significance as Canada’s only self governing Inuit region.

Barry Pottle, Awareness 2, 2009-2010, digital photograph on paper

In 2005 Nunatsiavut was officially formed under the ratification of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement. SakKijâjuk guides the visitor through four generations of Nunatsiavut artists: Elders, Trailblazers, Fire Keepers, and the Next Generation. Each new group of emerging artists is enriched by the previous generation’s experimentation. The narrative thread tying together this large number of works is one of transference of skills and materials colliding with expanding exploration of new media and concepts.

Though the artists move along this timeline their works show their shared experience and place. A shifting political empowerment shines through the work made by those generations living through and after the ratification of their land claims. Though emboldened by self-governance the newer generations of artists continue to work around the inflated costs of making in a place where travel between communities and shipping of materials is made difficult by isolation. The materials are precious and the objects crafted from them are exquisite and full of story.

The Atlantic Provinces are wide-ranging and disconnected by lack of infrastructure. This show is an incredible gift of labour undertaken by the curator, her collaborators and the artists. Its installation at the AGNS brings a much-appreciated connection to Nunatsiavut and Labrador – a region many Nova Scotians never even take the opportunity to visit.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia:
SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut continues until September 10.

Anna Taylor is an artist, crafter, and organizer sitting on the board of the Halifax Crafters Society. She is Akimblog’s Halifax correspondent and can be followed on Twitter @TaylorMadeGoods.



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