I am from Nunatsiavut (in Labrador). We Inuit have always been known as “Sikumiut; People of the Sea”, meaning that we lived and survived by the sea ice as a means for subsistence, travel, traditional cultural practices (as well as contemporary). In the four Inuit Regions Nunatsiavut (in Labrador), Nunavik (in Arctic Quebec), Nunavut and Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Western Arctic, we see the most effects of ice loss due to climate change.
Each year it takes longer for ice to form and as a result, hunter and trappers and community members are not able to go out on the ice or land, leading to less food for both hunter and community. Our Ice is melting and we are all at fault (humanity). We have no one else to blame but us and humans are contributing to loss of practices, changes in animal migration, traditions, community well-being, less time on the land and less interaction with the environment.
As an Inuk living in Ottawa, I ask myself, do people really understand the potential and real risk of climate change? How is it affecting our regions, our lives and our environment. Do we understand the consequences and effects associated with melting snow and ice; natural disasters, time, awareness, funding and polices or lack of them. Who is talking about it, who is concerned about it, and what are we going to do as a result of it? The images selected from my Ice Works is an attempt to bring awareness to and of climate change and global warming from an urban Inuk artist’s perspective.
Below are selected images from De-Iced photo series, on-going project
** Two of the photographs from the series, Policy Gone Awry and After the Melt, are part of the upcoming group exhibition Qautamaat | Every day / everyday at the Art Gallery of Guelph
Barry Pottle is an Inuk artist from Nunatsiavut in Labrador (Rigolet), now living in Ottawa, Ontario. He has worked with the Indigenous arts community for many years particularly in the city of Ottawa. Barry has always been interested in photography as a medium of artistic expression and as a way of exploring the world around him. Living in Ottawa, which has the largest urban population of Inuit outside the North, Barry has been able to stay connected to the greater Inuit community.
Through the camera’s len, Barry showcases the uniqueness of this community. Whether it is at a cultural gathering, family outings or the solitude of nature that photography allows, he captures the essence of Inuit life in Ottawa. From a regional perspective, living in the Nation’s Capital allows him to travel throughout the valley and beyond to explore and photograph people, places and events.
He believes that the concept of Urban Inuit is relatively new and for the most part unexplored (compared to other Urban Indigenous groups in Canada) so as an artist, he seeks to articulate this. “The camera,” he shares, “allows me to explore connection and continuity with my heritage and culture especially with regards to the contemporary reality of being an Urban Inuk.”
Barry’s photos have been published in a variety of magazines (Makivik Magazine, Inuktitut Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly) and he has also contributed images to a number of community initiatives.
SEVEN IMAGES FROM THE SERIES 'ENDANGERED.'
Butternutbutternut creates art inspired by conscious living, a bright and quirky take on a utopia where animals and humans coexist in harmony. For this series, Endangered, I wanted to hero endangered species to bring awareness to the alarming reduction in population. When we think of tigers, rhinos, orangutans, the general understanding is that they exist, freely, in the wild, but the truth is that we are close to extinction, and they only exist in conservation areas. This series in meant to humanize these animals, hence they are shown on human bodies, and start the dialogue on what we can do to help them, whether through mindful tourism, conscious buying of goods and services or donations. Over continued years of illegal trade, poaching, deforestation, and climate change, we are responsible for this tragedy, and now we need mass awareness to help save these species.
Butternutbutternut was started in 2018 by Shinjini Sur, a self-taught artist. Shin's vision is to create art inspired by conscious living - bright, fun, and quirky pieces critiquing social norms. Her iconic work shows animals on human bodies to personify and humanize them, ultimately bringing to life a utopian world where humans and animals coexist in harmony. She is currently experimenting with new materials and home decor - check out butternutbutternut.com for more of her work. *20% of all proceeds from shopping this collection goes to the World Wildlife Fund in support of endangered, critically endangered, and vulnerable animals.*
To Aliens (all)
we fucked up
the planet that is
not by choice
well not by my choice
and not by a lot of people I know
it was sort of an accumulative fucking up
so you probably shouldn’t come back here
or visit for the first time right now
you should probably just wait
until this part of humanity is gone
because while we have fucked it up currently
i don’t have much hope that we’ll be around that much longer
to continue fucking it up
and after that you can come visit again
the things that come after us will probably be hotter anyways
To plant life (all),
you show what you heal
in your very makeup
the cellular structure of what you are
giving us a map to all that means to be alive
seen in valerian root
shaped like a nervous system
used to calm our nerves
and send us to sleep
seen in strawberries
cut in half
the picture of a human heart
used to heal our hearts
seen in St. John’s wort
bright yellow flowers
calling forth joy
used to heal depression
you show us and
sadly, only some of us see
Francine Cunningham is an award-winning Indigenous writer, artist and educator originally from Calgary, AB but who currently resides in Vancouver, BC. She is a graduate of the UBC Creative Writing MFA program, and a recent winner of The Indigenous Voices Award in the 2019 Unpublished Prose Category and of The Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. Her fiction has appeared in Grain Magazine as the 2018 Short Prose Award winner, on The Malahat Review’s Far Horizon’s Prose shortlist, Joyland Magazine, The Puritan Magazine, and more. Her debut book of poetry is titled ON/Me (Caitlin Press). You can find out more about her at www.francinecunningham.ca.
An anthology of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
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