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Nunavummiut have to stay home, but their art continues to travel – Nunatsiaq News



Restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have greatly limited opportunities for travel from Nunavut over the last four months, but artwork created by Nunavummiut continues to reach a wide audience.

In certain cases, there’s an opportunity for those sheltering close to home to access those artworks virtually.

Take, for example, drawings showing life in an often-damaged environment in the North by Kinngait artist Qavavau Manumie, which are part of an exhibition that opened on June 5 at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.

The exhibition, “The Penumbral Age: Art in the Time of Planetary Change,” runs until Sept. 13.

Manumie’s drawings, rendered in graphite, coloured pencil and ink on paper, often feature wildlife, such as a group of walrus, affected by climate change and the garbage that humans leave behind.

You don’t have to travel to Poland to see these drawings, as you can visit the exhibition online.

A cheerful emoji

Aija Komangapik’s cheerful Inuk emoji travelled far and wide in June, popping up on people’s cell phones on Twitter when they used certain hashtags celebrating Indigenous people.

The Quebec-based Inuk artist made good use of her time when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and her in-person classes at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Que., were cancelled. Komangapik said she finally had time to go back to a bunch of art projects—including the emoji design.

“When you’re in school, you don’t really have time to do all the art you want to do,” she said.

“But during the pandemic, I had this big, creative explosion and did about 10 paintings.

Kinngait textiles

The surprise discovery of a crate full of forgotten printed textiles in a storage room at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop in Kinngait was the starting point for an exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto that began last December.

The exhibition, called Printed Textiles from Kinngait Studios, is currently closed to the public, but you can still have a virtual visit online.

The show presents the story of a group of Inuit artists who created a collection of bold graphic textiles in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the mid-1960s, the textiles were marketed by Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. across the country and were so popular that they were featured at Expo 67 in Montreal in 1967.

But in spite of that popularity, the textile-printing program in Kinngait came to an end in 1968.

This exhibition provides the visitor with an opportunity to see long-forgotten works by Kinngait artists, including Kenojuak Ashevak, Pitseolak Ashoona and Pudlo Pudlat.

A glass qajaq

You’ll have to travel to Ottawa to see the following work of art.

The Sivuniksattinu qajaq at the Ottawa Hospital took more than two years to complete. (Photo by Jim Bell)

Patients, visitors and staff at the Ottawa Hospital’s general campus are lucky enough to be able to see a physical representation of both Inuit ingenuity and artistry in the large waiting area adjacent to the main entrance.

Named “Sivuniksattinu,” or “For Our Future,” it’s a wooden-framed, glass-panelled qajaq, which was unveiled at a ceremony held early this year.

The production of the qajaq was very much a collaboration, starting with local elder David Erkloo, who repaired the wooden frame of the qajaq and provided guidance to Inuit artists Kaajuk Kablalik, Melissa Attagutsiak and Alexander Angnaluak, who, along with Ottawa-area glass artist Jennifer Anne Kelly, created the glass artwork on the qajaq.

The qajaq is intended to recognize the Inuit patients the hospital serves and it’s a symbol of reconciliation.

“The art piece is for everyone, even though it’s an Inuit piece, an Inuit symbol and an Inuit tool,” Kablalik told Nunatsiaq News.

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The art of compassionate care – Sherbrooke Record



Thanks to a very generous donation from an art gallery in Montreal, Grace Village is giving out thousands of dollars-worth of art this week as a way of saying thank you to its staff members for their hard work over the last six months.
“They are dedicated, committed, and have really sacrificed a lot,” said Andrea Eastman, the home’s interim executive director, explaining that the donation was arranged through a board member following a discussion about how the community could recognize the work of the staff during the pandemic. “The board had been trying to come up with a way to thank the employees and do something that is a little bit different.”
The artworks have been put on display for the residents to enjoy, and workers are being invited to come and select a work of their choice over the course of the week, based on their seniority.
Looking back on the last few months, Eastman said that the word “challenging” only scratches the surface of the realities that people working in retirement communities and long-term care homes have been facing.
“Our focus has been on keeping our residents safe and healthy,” she said. “That has guided every decision about what we needed to do.”
Eastman underlined the importance of clear communication and trust as key pillars to the success of the Grace Village community since the start of the pandemic
“It’s a shared responsibility with employees, residents, their families and other people in the community; You have to have trust in each other,” she said. “The more you communicate about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, the clearer it is that we’re all in this together.”
Asked whether the home has faced the same sorts of difficulties with people failing to respect rules and guidelines that have been reported at other care homes in the region, the interim director said that there have certainly been cases where people needed to be reminded of the reasons why things are the way they are.
“We’ve remained quite strict, but we’re trying to be as sensitive as possible,” she said.
In matters ranging from employee scheduling during a time when multiple days off in a row might be needed for a test, to figuring out how to offer residents enrichment when gathering together is largely off limits, Eastman said that her key word has been optimism.
“I try to focus on what we are able to do, rather than what we are not able to do,” she said, adding that the support and commitment of the whole team plays an important role in making a challenging situation more feasible. “What they are doing goes above and beyond what their employer is asking of them.”

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This Magazine → Black art matters – This Magazine



Photo by Brandon Brookbank

Shaya Ishaq’s work moves fluidly between mediums—words, ceramics, fibres, jewellery—while maintaining a central locus of honouring Black lineages and sparking light toward liberated Black futures. Tenacious and ever-evolving, Ishaq walked away from journalism school and signed up for a hand-building course at a pottery studio in her hometown of Ottawa. “I really fell in love that winter,” she says. “It was pretty magical to come into the studio first thing in the morning to see my work come out of the kiln or even just how the clay would change when the pieces would air dry before firing. I was totally enraptured by the many stages of the medium of clay.”

Now, Ishaq masterfully combines ceramics and fibres to create ornate and intricate wearable art pieces. On the origin stories of these designs, she says, “At their core, [these materials] come from the earth (before mass production and industrialization, before creating synthetic versions) and I am very dedicated to working with them to see what connections arise. Both invite a meditative process that has saved me time and again.” She started bridging relationships between ceramics and textiles when she began art school in Halifax, going on to continue her studies in Montreal. “It’s only been in recent years that some kind of visual vocabulary has emerged.”

Ishaq’s wearable art possesses a distinct aesthetic that plays with the juxtaposition of hardness and softness, gloss and matte, the whimsy of tassels and sharp curves of ceramic. That aesthetic is visible in her Holy Wata collection, showcased on her online portfolio, and her most recent solo show Mirror Mirror, exhibited at the Anne Dahl Concept Studio in Ottawa.

“Some of my stylistic choices are definitely informed by Black and Afro-diasporic futurist and Indigenous aesthetics,” she says. “More and more, I am trying to find inspiration from my own cultural background in East Africa … which requires a lot of digging, but is ultimately worth it because it brings me closer to myself in a way, by allowing me to reconnect with an em bodied sense of self.” Ishaq is also inspired by people who express a certain kind of “unfuckwithable energy,” including characters like Lauren Olamina from Octavia E. Butler’sParable series or Ketara from Avatar, and performers like
Moor Mother, Debby Friday, Backxwash, and Kelsey Lu.

Themes of Blackness in regards to identity, craft, culture, and liberation are integrally woven into Ishaq’s spatial design, as well. During a month-long residency at Halifax’s Khyber Centre for the Arts, she created Black Libraries Matter, for which she reimagined the gallery space by creating a Black library by inviting community members to donate books by Black authors.

Soon after, she had a collaborative exhibit, Reconcile/Overcome, at the Ottawa Art Gallery. It consisted of a handwoven sculptural textile piece and written work reflecting on the consequences of the transatlantic slave trade and labour of enslaved Black people on the foundation of Canada and the United States. Her written work from the exhibit includes this excerpt: “Made by my Black hands in celebration of Black spiritual resilience in all corners of the world. Not all our struggles are alike yet we are gold. We are nuanced and yet are gold. We are resilient and we are gold.”

In reflecting on the intersections of Blackness, fashion, beauty, and culture, Ishaq understands that Blackness and popular material culture are also deeply entwined. “I believe this includes Afro-diasporic cultural production as well. I really believe that materiality is political and omnipresent.” Black culture, she says, “is celebrated yet the people who create it are oftentimes disregarded, treated as disposable, only celebrated when they are dead or in moments like this where the world has to recognize the deep systemic patterns at play. There are so many case studies of appropriation that intersect Blackness, fashion, and beauty.”

In its variety of mediums, Ishaq’s practice seeks to centre Blackness and move closer toward creative sovereignty, despite continued appropriation of Black art and culture. “Ultimately, the more we are able to lean into our own creative sovereignty, the more authentic our creations can be. That sovereignty can look like not fighting for ‘a seat at the table,’ detaching ourselves from Eurocentric symbols of success but really doing things for us and by us.”

TOP: Photo by Cheryl Hann; Models: Francesca Ekwuyasi and Portia Karegeya LEFT: Photo by Mallory Lowe; Model: Jada BOTTOM: Photo by Brandon Brookbank; Model: Candy Contrera

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Newmarket resident finds therapy in chalk art drawings (7 photos) –



Kim Egan had purchased the 12-pack of sidewalk chalk on a whim.

“I was at the Dollar Tree in Newmarket, where I always go for arts and crafts supplies,” said Egan. “They were being sold for only $1.25. It was very much a spur of the moment thing.” 

Chalk in hand, Egan had walked to Newmarket’s Haskett Park and had found a secluded stretch of pavement on which to draw. Her Victorian-inspired artwork, a brightly coloured vase of flowers, was finished 14  hours later. 

The experience, she said, took her completely by surprise.

“I suffer from anxiety and depression, something that’s been especially challenging for me — and a lot of people — during the pandemic,” said Egan. “But art, drawing, was therapy. It helped me relax and forget my problems.”

Egan again returned to chalk art when her grandmother, Rose, tragically suffered a stroke mid-August. Already stressed from the isolation of quarantine and unable to visit her due to strict post-COVID-19 hospital restrictions, Egan’s mental health was struggling. 

To help ease some of her anxiety, Egan took to the pavement outside her Davis Drive apartment and designed a special homage to her grandmother. Throughout the painful few days preceding Rose’s passing, working on the drawing gave Egan a small — but much needed — sense of control. 

“The artwork I drew for her was a big pink heart that said ‘Rose’ in it, with roses on either side and a crown, flames, and cross atop it,” said Egan. “I came to learn afterwards that what I drew is actually a religious symbol, representing Christ’s heart. It was odd, because I didn’t know it at the time.”

Egan’s latest chalk drawing, a floral scene inspired by her love for nature, can currently be seen on the outdoor stage at Riverwalk Commons. As rain and wind can wash her art away in minutes, the stage’s overhead awning afforded Egan rare protection from September’s wet weather.

Yet despite the unique challenges her chalk art can bring, from being at the whim of the elements to scraped and sore knees, Egan is confident she’ll stick with it. A lifelong art lover, she has dabbled in mediums as wide-ranging as embroidery, handmade jewelry, flower pressing, painting and more. With chalk art, the most committing of the bunch, she just may have found her calling.

“When I was a kid, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say an artist,” said Egan. “Art is something I’ve always been so passionate about. And now, late in my life, I have a burning desire to explore my creativity more. It’s something I have to do, before I die.”

Apart from using chalk art as a personal source of happiness, Egan is also hopeful that its positivity will spread. 

“I hope people get some pleasure or happiness from seeing it. I hope it’s a bright spot in their day. It’s been great sharing my creativity with others.”

Egan is happy to report that the reaction to her artwork has, so far, been overwhelmingly positive. With each drawing, she’s gained the courage to venture out more and more into the public eye. 

“Because I’m out there drawing for a few days, I get people out for walks who will stop to talk and take pictures,” said Egan. “They’re very encouraging. It’s been nice.”


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