Alariaq worked with Genevieve Duval, programming and communications manager, on the selection, research, and presentation of works from La Guilde’s permanent collection, and worked with Marie-Hélène Naud, cultural activities coordinator, on the presentation of the works for acquisition. Alariaq conducted original research, including contacting Pudlo Pudlat’s family members, wrote the introductory and thematic texts, and collaborated with La Guilde’s team to choose the exhibition’s title. On the evening of April 15, 2021, Alariaq gave a curatorial talk as part of the opening ceremony for the exhibition alongside Dr. Heather Igloliorte, which was moderated by Genevieve Duval. Additional programming to accompany the exhibition included a virtual artist talk by Ilinniaqtuk Napatsi Folger entitled “Discovering Comics” on April 28, 2021.
Pudlat was eloquent and open in the way he spoke about his life, family, and career, drawing, living in outpost camps and eventually settling in Kinngait, though still travelling the world to share his art and perspective. As Pudlat described in a 1991 interview with Inuktitut Magazine, “When I want to draw, it seems like the pencil I’m holding has a mind of its own. Although my hand is holding it, the pencil seems to move by itself.” The semi-permanent exhibition is a collaboration between La Guilde’s team and Nak Alariaq, consultant and Inuit Futures Ilinniaqtuk, to show Pudlat’s amazing heritage. Included in the exhibition are a few texts that characterize the artist and some aspects of his works (collaboration, technologies, travelling and animals).
Pudlo Pudlat: Above the Limits is not only about the advancements in Inuit art made by Pudlat, but also his life as an Inuk man which changed radically mid-career—from hunter to artist. Pudlat’s work is an intimate and first-hand account of his journey travelling across the world. As a practicing Inuk artist who participated in his exhibition openings, Pudlat had a unique relationship with the art world. We wanted his perspective to be at the core of the exhibition. Above the Limits acknowledges Pudlat’s role in disseminating Inuit art, incorporating subject-matter from many dimensions of his life and pushing the boundaries.
A behind-the-scenes video of La Guilde’s programming and communications manager Genevieve Duval and cultural activities coordinator and gallery assistant, Marie-Hélène Naud putting the exhibition together, including a preview of the space.
Video credit: Preview | Pudlo Pudlat: Above the Limits was originally published by La Guilde canadienne des métiers d’art on April 16, 2021. COURTESY LA GUILDE.
La Guilde canadienne des métiers d’art is a long-time supporter of Inuit art, organizing the first major exhibition of modern Inuit art in 1948. La Guilde is a non-profit organization that houses a permanent collection, archives, an educational program and a public art gallery in downtown Montreal. Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership has partnered with Karine Gaucher, La Guilde’s director of programming and communications, to provide internships to students from Concordia and elsewhere, working with both their archives and permanent collections as well as their contemporary exhibitions. Inuit Futures and La Guilde have collaborated on multiple projects including Nunatsiavut—Our Beautiful Land (2019) and Pudlo Pudlat: Above the Limits (2021).
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.