After its success at the Ottawa Art Gallery (April 23, 2022 – March 5, 2023) the exhibition Dark Ice, showcasing the works of artists Leslie Reid and Robert Kautuk, travelled up north to the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit (on view: April 8 – September 15, 2023).
Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, is a community on the coast of Frobisher Bay, on the southeast part of Baffin Island. The city is surrounded by beautiful expanses of rolling tundra.
The Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit sits on Inuit land and is dedicated to the history, culture and arts of Inuit. The building is an old Hudson’s Bay Company warehouse with a distinct red roof.
Our team installed the Dark Ice exhibition there and hung the fabric banners from the original wooden rafters. The space allows for an intimate experience with the artworks, and it looks amazing!
While in Iqaluit, we walked around town and spotted buildings of architectural interest. This included St. Jude’s Anglican Cathedral and Nakasuk elementary school. Some other highlights included a visit to the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre and a trip to Apex, where we took in spectacular views of Frobisher Bay.
We got a tour of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut where we saw incredible artworks including: an exhibition of work by Elisapee Ishulutaq; the Mace of Nunavut made of Narwhal tusk; and door handles made from walrus tusk and silver by local Iqaluit artist Mathew Nuqingaq.
Our team also visited Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. The views are breathtaking and it is a popular place to hike and visit in the summer. The Sylvia Grinnell River, which runs through the park, contains an abundance of fish, and the area holds important cultural and natural heritage.
As part of Toonik Tyme and the Alianait Arts Festival, we saw Susan Aglukark in concert! She is the first Inuk artist to win a Juno, paving the way for other Inuit musicians. Aglukark is also the founder of the Arctic Rose Foundation which addresses inequities by supporting Northern Inuit, First Nations and Métis youth through the creation of Indigenous-led, arts-based after school programs in their communities.
We ended the trip with dog sledding. Travelling over ice, we went past Iqaluit’s suburban neighbourhood of Apex and into Aggaut (Tarr Inlet). The dogs were excited, vocal, and full of energy!
The exhibition Dark Ice will also be travelling to the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery.
Text and Curator: Rebecca Basciano, OAG
Touring Exhibition Coordinator: Erin Bruce, OAG
French Translation and Editing: Véronique Couillard, OAG
Photos: Germain Wiseman