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Storying identity and Survivance through depictions of Sedna - Kathryn Florence

Part of:
10:00 AM, Friday 4 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Inuit art has been incorporated into the national image of Canada. Vibrant owls. Dancing bears. Swaying shamans. This paper looks at Nuliajuk, epithetic-ally called the Sea Woman and colloquially referred to as Sedna. No one has examined what making her image means to the artists themselves, specifically in reference to cultural displacement. David Ruben Piqtoukun, Michael Massie, Heather Campbell, and Glenn Gear are all contemporary Inuk artists who experienced physical and cultural dislocation of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop that still haunt the country. Woven through their interviews was the revelation that Sedna is more than just a pretty tail. By exploring how these four artists are experiencing and projecting Nuliajuk, we can come to the startling understanding that their work is more than art, but a deliberate act of resistance to colonialism and attempts at cultural extermination. These contemporary artists are reclaiming her in their work, asserting her importance as an icon of their identity as Inuit and her position in their world. They return to her image again and again, because she is the ultimate survivor. Making these images is a way of honoring that and calling upon that strength, because her story aligns with their own experiences. Just like her, they survive and thrive.
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