Inuit Futures Residencies

Spotlight: Learn more about the Inuit artists and scholars in residence with Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project.

Creating Representation Possible Futures
Three people stand at a table strewn with carving tools, antlers, and chips of bone.

Interdisciplinary artist Jesse Tungilik was Inuit Futures’ first Artist-in-Residence, hosted by  Concordia University from February 18–May 3, 2019. The residency began with a special tour of the Canadian Space Agency with a group of Nunavik Sivunitsavut students, many of whom would go on to assist Tungilik with the central project of his residency, the creation of a Sealskin Spacesuit. Tungilik led a series of workshops on pattern-making and sewing that culminated in the exhibition of the final work at The Making of a Sealskin Spacesuit at Concordia University. The Sealskin Spacesuit project critically intervenes in the design and materiality of the iconic spacesuit by intertwining narratives of Western scientific progress with Inuit knowledge and futurity.

Two people apply papier-mâché to a wire frame of a human figure.
Jesse Tungilik (right) and Jason Sikoak (left), constructing Feeding My Family (2019). PHOTO:OSSIE MICHELIN.

During his residency, Tungilik participated in a number of engaging events, workshops, and lectures. He was one of seven Indigenous artists to collaborate on Memory Keepers I, an intensive week-long art-creation workshop that resulted in an outdoor installation in the courtyard of Concordia’s FOFA Gallery for the night of Nuit Blanche. Tungilik’s artist talk, “Using Conceptual Sculpture to Bring Social Change”, addressed his practice of creating conceptual art that draws attention to and explores contemporary issues that face Inuit in Canada. Tungilik worked with the Concordia Fine Arts community by leading a learning session for faculty on working with the North and hosting an Art Hive on jewelry construction and working with northern organic materials, such as bone, antler, and tusks.

Three people pose smiling. The centre person wears a space suit made out of sealskin.
Glenn Gear (left), Jason Sikoak wearing the Sealskin Spacesuit (2019) (centre), and Jesse Tungilik (right). PHOTO: VICTOR ARROYO.

Glenn Gear

Glenn Gear is a filmmaker and multi-disciplinary artist currently based in Montreal, Quebec, originally from Newfoundland. Much of his work explores alternative forms of storytelling through research-based creation and personal/tactile knowledge rooted in his Inuit heritage connected to Nunatsiavut. Primarily focused on animation and moving images, he also uses archives, photographs, drawings, traditional crafts, and objects in his practice. He is passionate about low-budget and experimental animation techniques and shares these through mentoring opportunities that have become an integral part of his practice. His work delves into the relationships between people, animals and land, rethinking the spaces in which history, hope and Inuit knowledge may thrive.

Gear was the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership 2020-2021 Artist-in-Residence, jointly held between Concordia University and the University of Winnipeg, and hosted in collaboration with the Aabijijiwan New Media Lab. During this residency, Gear has presented at Montréal En Lumière’s Nuit Blanche and Concordia University’s First Voices Week, where he led a sealskin brooch-making workshop and participated in the panel “On Screen: Inuit Film and Video.” He also led a number of digital workshop stop motion animation, beginning with Inuit Futures’ De-ICE-olation Online Artist Workshop series, as well as “Introduction to Animation and Paper Puppets” and “Advanced Techniques with Collage Animation” with Aabijijiwan New Media Lab, and finally “Animating the Archive: Stop-Motion Animation & Object-based Collage,” a collaboration between Inuit Futures and the Indigenous Screen Office. Gear created Iluani/Silami (it’s full of stars) for Qaumajuq’s inaugural exhibition INUA, which opened in spring 2021, as well as the accompanying audioguide commentary for Nagvaaqtavut | What We Found: The INUA Audio Guide.

A person on a Zoom call holds up a drawing of a bear and points their finger at it.
Glenn Gear, screenshot from “Stop Motion Animation: The Whimsical Magic of Paper Puppets” for the De-ICE-olation Online Artist Workshop Series (2020).
Headshot of Heather Ochalski.
Heather Ochalski, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership 2021/2022 Scholar-in-Residence. COURTESY HEATHER OCHALSKI.



Heather Ochalski

Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project is thrilled to welcome our first Scholar-in-Residence for 2021/2022, Heather Ochalski! 

Heather Ochalski is a resident of Ottawa originally from Baker Lake, Nunavut. She has an Honours BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and an MA in Education from the University of Ottawa. Using Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit as her epistemological framework, her Masters study, titled “Inuit Students’ Journeys from High School into Post-Secondary Education,” narrates the experiences of six Inuit students’ education journeys and explores how they navigated cultural tensions between Western and Inuit worldviews to successfully reach and complete their post-secondary education.

She is a strong and passionate advocate for Inuit rights and Inuit-led education. Having worked at the national level to address Inuit education issues, she brings with her a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership on the implementation of education policies and programming.

Headshot of Mark Bennett.
Mark Bennett, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership 2021/2022 Artist-in-Residence. COURTESY INUIT ART FOUNDATION. PHOTO: JOULIA SOUDAT.


Mark Bennett

Inuit Futures’ third Artist-in-Residence is Toronto-based graphic designer, art director and image-maker Mark Bennett. Beginning in Fall 2021, the residency is a jointly held position between Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership at Concordia University and Aabijijiwan New Media Lab at the University of Winnipeg. Bennet is currently studying architecture at the University of Toronto where he also serves as the Art Director for UofTMed Magazine, a publication of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Bennett designed the logo for the 22nd Inuit Studies Conference, to be held at the University of Winnipeg from June 19-22, 2022, with images from Jimmy Kamimmalik. He will be leading workshops and other exciting activities at both the University of Winnipeg and Concordia University in the coming months as part of his residency. 

Contributor Biographies

Maggie Hinbest is an MAstudent in Art History at Concordia University, under the supervision of Dr. Heather Igloliorte. Maggie completed her undergraduate degree in Visual Art at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Over the course of her undergraduate studies, Maggie held positions at several galleries across Vancouver Island (Nanaimo Art Gallery and The View Gallery in Nanaimo, and Madrona Gallery in Victoria). Maggie’s MA thesis research is supported by a SSHRC Canadian Graduate Scholarship for 2020-2021, the Gail and Stephen A Jarislowsky Bursary in Canadian Art, and a Faculty of Fine Arts Fellowship. She currently works as the Online Events Coordinator for Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project.

Michelle Sones is a white settler graduate student born and raised in Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal. She completed her BFA in Art History at Concordia University in 2019, where she continues to study in the MA program under the supervision of Dr. Heather Igloliorte. Her MA research on institutions and Indigenous artist-run spaces is supported through the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for 2019-2020, and the FRQSC Bourse Maîtrise en recherche for 2020-2021. Michelle is the Online Content Editor for Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project.

This story is part of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.