Qiniqtuaq (Kee-nick-dwak) means searching or looking in the Sallirmiut dialect of Inuvialuktun. Viewed through the gallery’s front windows, the exhibition Qiniqtuaq invites a curious and peeping gaze, seeking viewer participation in the ongoing histories of the who’s who of looking and being looked at. Kablusiak has often engaged the trope of the ghost as a device through which they wryly articulate a sense of their diasporic identity as an urban Inuk: the ghost asks for acknowledgement while controlling access to what is behind it. As we press our faces against the glass to peer through the caricature of ghostly eyeholes—some of which are cut high, too high for human eyes—we are implicated in acknowledging Inuit presence behind the curtain, one that resists the notion of a culture frozen in time.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Using humor and Inuk ingenuity, Kablusiak’s artistic practice invites empathy and solidarity to explore diasporic cultural displacement, family, and community ties, as well as the impacts of colonization on Inuit gender and sexuality expressions, health and wellbeing, and the everyday. Engaging materials such as lingerie, Sharpies, bed sheets, felt, soapstone, acrylic paint, and words, they seek to demystify Inuit art and create space for diverse Inuit-led representation.
Kablusiak’s recent solo exhibitions include Party City (where you belong) at Norberg Hall, Calgary (2022); Up Front at Onsite Gallery, OCADU, Toronto (2022); Ublaak tikiyuak at artspeak, Vancouver (2020), and akunnirun kuupak at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2019). Select co-curatorial work includes INUA, the inaugural exhibition of 90 artists working across Inuit Nunangat and beyond at Qaumajuq at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (2021–22), and Atautchikun | wâhkôtamowin at Remai Modern (2021).Kablusiak was awarded the Research and Creation Canada Council for the Arts Grant (2020), the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (2020), and the Sobey Art Award shortlist (2019) and Sobey Award Fogo Island residency (2022). Their work can be found in the collections of the Indigenous Art Centre, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and numerous other private collections.
Qiniqtuaq is curated by Erin Gleeson and presented by FD13 residency for the arts in collaboration with The Great Northern Festival and with the support of Consulate General of Canada in Minneapolis and AV For You.
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 26, 5:30 pm