Helen Christou Gallery
January 13 – March 24, 2023
Coulees Remember Glaciers
Works of poetry, illustration, and more by Ooleepeeka Eegeesiak relate experiences of displacement, diaspora, dream worlds, kinship, intergenerational skills, alienation, and imagined utopia.
Shrinking glaciers are a familiar signal of climate change, a gauge for massive planetary disruption and the current extinction event we are amidst. Further back in geologic time, dinosaurs faced catastrophic change, now found in the ground beneath us. Atop layers of this accumulated sediment, lives are lived upon the surface of here. The processes of erosion and deposition enacted by glaciers, natural events, living beings, weather, and water are all intertwined. This implicates present day in a greater narrative of this place and its cycles, stretching into deep time and an uncertain future. These writings and visuals share connections between worlds and memories, envision an alternate reality on a livable planet, and emphasize the importance of dreams and futurisms. Imagination and connection to land arise as refuges in systems that attempt to scour away all hope.
This land was carved by massive ice sheets and their melting. While glaciers have since retreated, the topography still physically expresses what once was. I was born in the north, a place associated with glaciers, and now live where coulees hold a legacy of ice. The distance between here and there is vast, but relationships emerge upon closer observation. Like the contours of the river valley and the glacial drift left behind, my body and family have been shaped by where we have been displaced into and inhabit. Despite the alienation from land and language living in the south, there are values and worldviews I have been gifted. Through ecology, kinship, and storytelling, connection to culture and place at great distances becomes possible as an Inuk/qallunaaq in Treaty 7 lands.