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New Conversation Series Videos Posted! Meet Reneltta Arluk!

27 May

Remember the Conversation Series we’ve been creating this year, where MIA interviews Inuit artists  about their work? Well, after a long delay we are back with our latest installment: meet Reneltta Arluk, an actor and playwright!

Interviewing Reneltta

I should explain why these videos are so delayed: I interviewed Reneltta back in early February – right after I interviewed Jaco Ishulutaq, actually – but then we ran into technical difficulties. We had to start the interview a few different times because the recording software I was using was not in fact recording. And then after our interview, the video did not want to load. But now, we’ve got it working and I could not be happier to share it with you.

In part one, Reneltta discusses how she began acting, her experiences acting in Human Cargo’s NIGHT and her one-woman show TUMIT:

In part two, Reneltta talks more about TUMIT, conceptions of Aboriginal theatre and what’s up next for her:

She has lots of exciting projects happening now, so you should follow her on Akpik Theatre’s Facebook page or on Twitter. And stay tuned, we will be announcing our next chat in the next few days!

– Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Conversation Series Part Three! Meet Jaco Ishulutaq

7 Mar

After some technical difficulties, we are back with our third installment of our Conversation Series via Skype. This time, meet Jaco Isulutaq from Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung). Jaco is a well-respected carver who has been working for decades.

Jaco’s work is best known for his sculptures of the Inuit Sea Goddess, commonly called Sedna. Sedna is the Inuit sea goddess and a very important figure in traditional Inuit spirituality, particularly in coastal communities. There are many different names for the sea goddess as well as versions of her legend, which vary from community to community
According to one version, Sedna was a beautiful Inuit girl who was pressured into marriage to a sea bird by her father. Her new husband fed her fish and kept her in a nest on an island far from her family. Her father missed her and felt badly for forcing her into marriage, so he attempted to rescue her in his kayak. The bird was enraged, so he conjured up a deadly storm. In a panic, the father pushed Sedna over the side of the kayak but she clung to the side. Her father cut her fingers off, one by one, and they fell into the sea and transformed into sea mammals. Sedna herself sank into the water, where she transformed into the sea goddess. In other versions of the story, her husband is a dog or a hunter who gives her a sleeping potion and carries her off. Her father does not always cut her fingers off, either; sometimes, they freeze and fall off instead.

She was an incredibly important figure because she controlled Inuit access to marine mammals, which were a staple in many regional diets. She was easily upset and many traditional taboos (such as not eating caribou when hunting seal) were enforced in order not to anger her. Images of the Sea Goddess with unkempt hair often signify that she is upset, at which point she would hold back the marine mammals from Inuit hunters. The angukaak would then have to discover the transgression and overcome several trials in order to reach her undersea home. There, the angukaak would either have to soothe her by combing and braiding her hair or, in other versions, force her to release the sea mammals.

Skype Chat Series 2: Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory of Qaggiavvut!

2 Feb

As promised, today I had the pleasure of speaking with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, the Executive Director of Qaggiavvut! Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre. There was so much to talk about that we had to split the conversation into two videos!

Watch Part 1 here:

And Part 2 here:

For more information on Qaggiavvut! or help build a state-of-the-art performing arts centre in Iqaluit, be sure to go to the website.

I’m working on lining up our next interview (hopefully for next week) – who would you like to see us talk to next?

– Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Next Conversation Series Announced!

30 Jan

As promised, the installment of of Skype Conversations series is Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, the Executive Director of Qaggiavuut! Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre! If you’re not familiar, Qaggiavuut! promotes performing artists in Nunavut – from filmmakers to drum dancers and beyond – while raising funds to build Nunavut’s first performing arts centre. Laakkuluk is also a performer: you can read more about her work here.

There’s lots to talk about and we want your input! Do you want to know what kinds of performing artists are a part of Qaggiavuut? Anything about the history of performing arts in the Arctic? Want to know why they’re interested in a Performing Arts Centre? Laakkuluk and I will be speaking this Thursday at 2 PM (EST) so leave your questions in the comments and I will be sure to ask. Then check back for the video, which should be posted late that afternoon!

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Conversation Series: Bart Hanna

30 Jan

As we’ve previously mentioned, January 12th was the official launch of the International Year of Co-Operatives (or IYC) in Canada. Co-operatives play a major role in the history of Inuit art and continue to make important contributions to not only art-making, but also Arctic communities as a whole.

To celebrate the launch, we were able to record the first in a year-long series of informal conversations with artists throughout the Arctic. Thanks to technological advances, I am able to speak to artists in their own communities via Skype and record those conversations to share with you.

Speaking to Bart Hanna via Skype

Iglulik artist Bart Hanna very kindly agreed to speak to us about his artistic process on the 12th and it was an absolute pleasure. He is one of the museum’s most talked-about artists and you can learn more about him on our virtual tour of the museum.

We are still working out the kinks in this system, as you can see in the video: our connection unfortunately dropped at the end of the interview and due to the dimensions of the recorded area, you can only see the top of my face in the video. We are working on ironing these out as we continue throughout the year.

These videos are also an opportunity for you, our visitors, to participate. When we confirm an interview, visitors are welcome to send us questions to ask a particular artists here in the blog comments, on Facebook, on Twitter or via email. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal who we are interviewing next just yet, but keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, is there anyone you’d like to see us speak to this year?

-Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator