North

Inuk artist creates sculpture out of Northmart and Northern Store receipts

Inuk artist from Iqaluit saved grocery receipts for five years to create a sculpture to bring light on issues of northern food insecurity.

'I hope that the piece will bring attention to the issue of food insecurity'

Jesse Tungilik is hoping his sculpture of an Inuk butchering a seal will bring attention to the issue of northern food insecurity. (Jesse Tungilik)

A sculpture made out of Northmart and Northern Store receipts depicting an Inuk man butchering a seal was displayed at Montreal's Nuit Blanche arts festival earlier this month.

Jesse Tungilik from Iqaluit saved the receipts from groceries he bought in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, and in the territory's capital.

"I hope that the piece will bring attention to the issue of food insecurity, especially with the people here in the south," Tungilik said.

"I think it's something that a lot of people — especially down here — would prefer to forget or ignore."

Jesse Tungilik is an Inuk artist from Iqaluit. (Jesse Tungilik)

Tungilik's sculpture was part of the "memory keeper's" section of Nuit Blanche on March 2.

Tungilik and six other Inuit and Indigenous artists contributed to the section as part of an artist residency program at Montreal's Concordia University.

About omitting the hands of the hunter in the sculpture he said, "I wanted to kind of show how Inuit have been disconnected from hunting culture and forced to become part of the wage economy in Canada."

Tungilik's art is often political, dealing with issues that Inuit face in the north. Tungilik has also made a recreation of the Nunavut flag out of beer cans, cigarette packages, and used bingo cards.

"I find it's a potent way to get people either to think differently about certain issues that they may have formed," said Tungilik.

He said his art is how he chooses to deliver his messages.  

Tungilik's artist residency at Concordia will finish in May. He plans on returning to Iqaluit once he is done. 

Tungilik made a recreation of the Nunavut flag out of beer cans, cigarette packages, and used bingo cards. (Jesse Tungilik)

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