Through the camera’s lens, Barry showcases the uniqueness of this community. Whether it is at a cultural gathering, family outings or in the solitude of nature that photography allows, he captures the essence of Inuit life in Ottawa. From a regional perspective, living in the nation’s capital allows him to travel throughout the valley and beyond to explore and photograph people, places and events.
He believes that the concept of Urban Inuit is relatively new and for the most part unexplored (compared to other Urban Indigenous groups in Canada) so as an artist, he seeks to articulate this. “The camera,” he shares, “allows me to explore connection and continuity with my heritage and culture especially with regards to the contemporary reality of being an Urban Inuk.”
Alongside the selection of images below, Pottle describes some of his intentions and motivations as a photographer:
The artworks selected for the Urban Inuit installation is a compilation of works that reflect Urban Inuit iconography.
My goal is to explore my community (very robust Inuit community) and to highlight its richness and vibrancy.
In the Summer of 2020, I participated in the City of Ottawa’s Public Art project Microcosm. My Covid Visual Diary is ongoing and as I continue to travel in Ward 9 and beyond, there is an everyday reminder to be safe, supportive and compassionate. Through community efforts and societal acceptance, we will get back.
This work represents a larger project I have been exploring that is based on the older Inuktitut syllabic writing system. It is about how these syllabics can be found and interpreted by me (artistically) in my surroundings and in and around mainstream society.
Once in urban centers, Inuit experience a great shift in diet from traditional or country food to store-bought, processed foods. My plan in setting out to do this project was—first and foremost—an art project as I strive to bring awareness and justice to what I call contemporary Urban Inuit photography.
This story is part of the Nunatsiavut Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.