Culture Clash

Annie Pootoogook captures Canada’s north-south divide

By David Balzer
June 27, 2006
Watching George Bush on TV. Courtesy Power Plant/Fehely Fine Arts.

Watching George Bush on TV

“There are a lot of TV drawings,” says Campbell, “ones of Dr. Phil, Jerry Springer and George Bush – and of the Iraq war. Annie’s thoughts on the war are completely filtered through what she’s seen on TV – like, she thinks Saddam Hussein can’t be a very good man.”

Pootoogook’s TV drawings demonstrate the profound influence of southern broadcasting on the north – broadcasting that began in 1972 with the Canadian government’s launch of the Anik A1 satellite, which continues to generate criticism for its corrosive effects on Inuit culture. (More than 90 per cent of Arctic households now have televisions). Pootoogook does not editorialize, though her drawings are relatively unusual in their repeated, almost mesmeric acknowledgement of such conditions — and in their clever invitation to southerners to watch northerners watching southerners.


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