Inuit Art Quarterly gets first permanent Inuk editor

As the first Inuk editor-at-large for the Inuit Art Quarterly, Taqralik Partridge will help choose articles to go into the magazine and edit them.

'I'm hoping that Inuit artists might feel comfortable approaching me,' says new editor

Taqralik Partridge is the first permanent editor-at-large for the Inuit Art Quarterly. She'll work on the quarterly from her home in Kautokeino, Norway. (Submitted by the Inuit Art Foundation)

As the first Inuk editor-at-large for the Inuit Art Quarterly, Taqralik Partridge will help represent art from all the Inuit regions, choose articles to go into the magazine and edit them. 

"I'm hoping that Inuit artists might feel comfortable approaching me. I'm hoping I can encourage people who haven't necessarily been... covered in the quarterly... to come forward and have some kind of connection," Partridge said.

The Inuit Art Foundation has been putting out the quarterly since 1986 and in that time it's had Inuit guest editors and contributing editors, but Partridge will be the first Inuk to fill a permanent position.

Originally from Kuujjuaq, NU, Partridge now lives in Kautokeino, Norway, where she will continue her own art practice, alongside her new role as editor. Last year, her short story Fifteen Lakota Visitors was shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and she co-curated an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Currently, she's working on collecting a series of short films, specifically Indigenous circumpolar horror stories.

Taqralik Partridge is a multidisciplinary artist, who started her career in spoken word, something she recommends to young Inuit artists because there's no costs associated with it. (Submitted by the Inuit Art Foundation)

Partridge started her career in spoken word, which is something she recommends for young Inuit artists. She said spoken word is a good medium because there's no startup costs.

"You just use words and you can do it in English, in the Inuktitut. Use the language you want and if you need to you can write on a napkin. I've done that before," Partridge said.  

'Transformation' in Inuit art

Partridge said the Inuit Art Foundation is undergoing a "transformation" that she's excited to be a part of.

When she was young, Partridge understood the foundation and the quarterly to be geared toward collectors, but as it broadens its perspective, the quarterly is becoming something that artists read as well. 

Northerners are finding new ways to make prints and sculptures, as well as delving into completely new mediums like spoken word and video, Partridge said.

"I think they're just as valuable as what we think of as Inuit art, the typical prints and sculptures and stuff like that," she said.  

Regional representation

The Inuit Art Quarterly strives for geographic representation. Partridge said the quarterly is a Canadian publication, so it will mainly feature Canadian Inuit, but she's not opposed to reaching beyond the border to delve into art stories from Alaska and Greenland, for example.

The winter 2018 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly. The quarterly has been published by the Inuit Art Foundation since 1986. (Submitted by the Inuit Art Foundation)

Partridge said that across Canada she sees many similarities in Inuit art. Family connections stretch between communities and help art trends jump, she said.

"In the early 90s people had parkas with this kind of polyester fringe and there was one community that was really doing it and then suddenly the fringe just took over and all across [Nunavik]."

The idea of parka-making or hat-making as an art form also interests Partridge. "I wonder if there is a level of artistry there that hasn't been touched on."

She's aware there's a conversation about the value of those items, but she'd like to see the conversation go further, possibly in the quarterly.

When the quarterly looks back at iconic Canadian artists, Partridge also wants to see an article that looks at how Inuit might reconnect with their artistic culture.

"A lot of times [the artworks] have just been sold out of communities because people needed to make money to eat," Partridge said. "I'm interested in how the Inuit art movement has affected Inuit people today and what pride people take in the works that their mothers and fathers and grandparents had done."