‘Among All These Tundras,’ a title taken from the poem ‘My Home is in My Heart’ by famed Sámi writer Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, features contemporary art by Indigenous artists from around the circumpolar world. Together, their works politically and poetically express current Arctic concerns towards land, language, sovereignty, and resurgence. Artists from throughout the circumpolar north share kinship with each other and their ancestors, love for their homelands, and respect for the land and its inhabitants. Yet they also share histories of colonialism and experience its ongoing legacies and are united in their desire to protect northern ecologies, languages, peoples, and knowledge from the nefarious effects of climate change, encroaching industry and competition. These resistance efforts do not merely express, they give shape to a collective ecology of care, a “decolonial love” (in the words of Leanne Simpson and others) that is both generous and generative. These works invite viewers to contemplate relationships between textual and embodied Indigenous knowledges, innovation and sustainability, humour and resilience, and our collective responsibility to northern life and land.
Esker Foundation is pleased to present selected films from the first large-scale tour of Igloolik Inuit video art from the Isuma and Arnait Women’s Video collective, a collection of over 40 works (short films, documentaries, and feature films) from 1987 to today. It is the product of a 30-year filmmaking practice rooted in Inuit values of consensus, working together, service to the community, and cultural authenticity. It is also a non-hierarchical collaborative artistic vision developed by eight celebrated video artists (six Inuit and two non-Inuit): Zacharias Kunuk, Paul Apak Angilirq, Pauloosie Qulitalik, Madeline Ivalu, Susan Avingaq, Mary Kunuk, Norman Cohn, and Marie- Hélène Cousineau.
This collection highlights the unique power of Inuit filmmaking: an approach that challenges individualistic notions of the “artist,” and centers itself in an ethical obligation to serve Inuit first through thoughtful self-representation. Beyond the immediate social effects of cultural production and cooperation, the work of Isuma and Arnait is also a model for how non-Indigenous artists can contribute to decolonial artistic practice.
Esker Foundation, 4th Floor, 1011 – 9th Avenue S.E.
Inglewood, Calgary, AB, Canada T2G 0H7