Montreal

New Montreal exhibit celebrates Inuit art, portraits of everyday life in Labrador

The gallery exhibition at La Guilde on Sherbrooke Street West has brought together 25 artists originally from Nunatsiavut — the Inuit region of Labrador — to showcase their diverse art as an ode to the area.

Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land opens Thursday for iNuit Blanche

Karine Gaucher is the programming and communications director at La Guilde. Gaucher stands in front of pieces curated by Heather Igloliorte for the new exhibition, Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land. La Guilde is one of the galleries participating in iNuit Blanche, an event featuring exhibitions and performances by Inuit artists. (Elysha Enos/CBC)

Ask your average Montrealer what they know about Nunatsiavut and you may be greeted with a blank stare. But a new exhibit called Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land is trying to change that.

The gallery exhibition at La Guilde on Sherbrooke Street West has brought together 25 artists originally from Nunatsiavut — the Inuit region of Labrador — to showcase their diverse art as an ode to the area.

The exhibition is happening as part of the first-ever Montreal iNuit Blanche Gallery Crawl on Oct. 3, organized in collaboration with the 21st edition of the Inuit Studies Conference being held at the Université du Québec à Montréal this weekend.

This figurine by Jane Shiwak (Inuk Male Doll, 2019, birch wood, stroud, beads, rabbit fur) is one of the pieces featured in the exhibit. (Submitted by La Guilde)

The iNuit Blanche Gallery Crawl will include exhibitions and performances by Inuit artists at six different galleries in downtown Montreal, including the McCord Museum, Concordia University's D.B. Clarke Theatre and at La Guilde.

Inuit art from Nunatsiavut is often "under-represented in galleries and museums," said Karine Gaucher, programming and communications director at La Guilde.

The gallery has spent the last two years reaching out to artists directly to put together the exhibit which features 40 artworks from sculpture to photography.

This artwork by Jason Sikoak (The Hunter, 2019, felted paint on black paper) is among those pieces on display at The Guilde. (Submitted by La Guilde)

Gaucher said this is the first Montreal exhibition to exclusively feature artists from Nunatsiavut.

"It's going to be awesome. The gallery looks beautiful at the moment," she told CBC News ahead of the opening.

As part of the iNuit Blanche Gallery Crawl, La Guilde is extending its hours be open from 6 to 10 p.m. on Oct 3, and will host a throat-singing performance by Nina and Sierra Segalowitz starting at 9 p.m.

For Inuk photographer Jennie Williams, the exhibit is a chance for locals to see "a very unique place, very different from the rest of Canada."

Jennie Williams is an Inuk photographer from Labrador whose work is featured in the Nunatsiavut exhibit. (Submitted by iNuit Blanche)

"I find it really great to see how some artists from Labrador are being shown to the rest of Canada," she said. "In Montreal, a big city, everyone can step into an exhibit and see a part of Labrador — experience it through art."

Three of her photos are being displayed at La Guilde. She says her work captures everyday life in Labrador.

"Sometimes people haven't even heard or don't know where Labrador is. So getting it out there is important," she said.

This pair of women’s kamiks by Peggy Andersen are made of moose hide, glass beads, tanned sealskin, duffle liner and sheepskin. They were made in 2019. (Submitted by La Guilde)

Williams added that while she won't be present at the opening on Thursday evening, she hopes visitors won't be shy to interact with the artists and ask questions.

"People from Labrador are really friendly," she said. "When I talk to people after exhibits, I love sharing what the photo is about."

More information about iNuit Blanche here. The Nunatsiavut / Our Beautiful Land exhibit runs at La Guilde from Oct. 3 to Nov. 24.

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