Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess Gallery

April 12 – June 22, 2024

Curator: Ooleepeeka Eegeesiak

Organized by the Mitchell Art Gallery at McEwan University

-miut considers what it means to be an Inuk living in Treaty 6 and 7. Featuring work by Atsinak Bishop, Alberta Rose W./Ingniq, Kablusiak, Sarah Whalen Lunn, and Yvonne Moorhouse.

Curatorial Statement:

Living in the prairie, to a certain extent, is not that different from living in the tundra. On a hypothetical Venn Diagram between these two landscapes exists a large overlap containing lichen, plants growing close the ground, migratory species, plentiful rocks, fierce wind, and dreamy horizons (and the strange colonial frontier imaginaries projected onto these places). Somehow as a prairie Inuk, I thought growing up here might be the best spot, if there was any, to be displaced into as a surrogate for my homelands. Perhaps if I squint and look sideways, I can catch a glimpse of where I was born to. This yearning for belongingness is experienced within memoryscapes, embodied connections, and familial ties.

Inuit are circumpolar (and diasporic) peoples, and the artists in this exhibition are all connected with different regions, cultures, and dialects. Bringing them together is their current presence in Treaty 6 or Treaty 7 of so-called Alberta, at distances from Inuit Nunaat. What does it mean to be living in other Indigenous territories and to express being Inuit on these lands? Atsinak Bishop’s clothing and jewellery designs contain the love and care a seamstress embeds within each garment. Alberta Rose Williams alludes to absence and connection through old photographs and what is learned through them. Melding niche references, both internet and Inuvialuk, Kablusiak renders new versions of the felt wallhanging. Sarah Whalen-Lunn’s shapeshifting work reveals the textures of an animate world. Through printmaking, sculpture, and stop-motion video, Yvonne Moorhouse shares narratives steeped in place.

Linking these ideas together like stitches, the suffix “-miut” is found in Inuit languages across dialects¬. It is a word modifier meaning “people of” when attached to a place name. This identifier subverts constructed lines between people and land, as these toponyms are often related to ecological characteristics. Belonging to place is deeply embedded in what it means to be Inuk. We are the land, our kinship geographies, our generational knowledges. These artworks are space and time travel, the stories are portals home, the artists are beings both shaping and shaped by here and there.

Ooleepeeka Eegeesiak