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Nov 30, '19 - Oct 11, '20
subsist brings together a selection of interdisciplinary works that reflect political, economic, and social systems of subsistence in the individual and collective maintenance of tradition for sustenance, survival, and development.

The exhibition considers the controversy of the seal hunt, and Indigenous traditional practices of food sovereignty and economies. subsist draws the connection between people and the sources of subsistence, as humans have used natural resources available to them to survive in various ways. The large-scale food industry and agriculture have alienated people from the source of their food, and the controversy against hunting rights and traditional ways of food in small scale controlled environments has come into question. The exhibition reveals historical and contemporary impacts of colonialism on Indigenous Peoples’ connection to land, and knowledge about the determinants of health for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

The sealing industry and the precarious nature of ecosystems and traditional economies under threat are at the centre of this exhibition, subsist offers a dialogue with interdisciplinary work ranging from photography, drawings, sculpture, installation, each visually responding to the themes in the exhibition.

About the Work

Maureen Gruben

Debuting at the WAG, Maureen Gruben’s Breathing Hole is an installation of 18,000 sealskin pins hand-fixed onto 40 squares of pale blue Dricore insulation. Bringing community together to complete the work over several months, her work echoes the landscape, subsistence lifestyle, and patience of seal hunting with the patience of collective endeavours.

Andrew Qappik

Andrew Qappik’s stonecut Protest, presents two Inuit hunters gesturing in question about the threat to their traditional practices and economy.

Mark Igloliorte

Mark Igloliorte’s Seal Skin Neck Pillow utilizes the main material of his Inuit ancestors reimagined into a contemporary travel object, he refers to the detrimental international restrictions put in place by the 2010 European Union ban on the trade and exchange of seal products. Inspired by Luke Anguhadluq’s The Men Hunting Caribou in Kayaks’ yellow kayaks, Igloliorte created Kayak is Inuktitut for Seal Hunting Boat—originally a painting—it takes its form in subsist as a vinyl reproduction to embody the spirit of the meme in sharing the assertion of the kayak as a vessel integral to Inuit ways of life and shift popular perceptions of kayaks as tourist watercrafts.

KC Adams

KC Adams’ digital photography of black and white triptychs, The Gifts, juxtaposes images of the human body impacted from processed commodified food of flour, sugar and lard as gifts of colonialism which were provided as rations during the starvation policies that forbid Indigenous groups to hunt and maintain their traditional food ways.

Omalluq Oshutsiaq

Omalluq Oshutsiaq’s Store items I remember in the 1950’s drawing presents a reality of forced reliance on commodity-based foods which are often overpriced and unhealthy in northern stores.

Dana Claxton

Dana Claxton’s stark Buffalo Bone China video installation brings a halting view of history into perspective, evoking John A. Macdonald’s government starvation policies and the decimation of the buffalo populations.

Luke Anguhadluq

Akitiq Sanguya

Napachee Kadlak

Bobby Etoktok

Kananginak Pootoogook

Unidentified Artist(s)


Plan Your Visit
WAG-Qaumajuq recognizes that land acknowledgements are part of an ongoing dialogue with Indigenous Nations, and we are grateful to live and work on these lands and waters. Institutionally, WAG-Qaumajuq is committed to acknowledging our colonial history and we are actively working to interrogate the Gallery’s colonial ways of being.

WAG-Qaumajuq is LEED certified.

WAG - Winnipeg Art Gallery Outline
Winnipeg Art Gallery—Qaumajuq
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Winnipeg, MB
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