A featured exhibition of the Arctic Arts Summit that will also be shown simultaneously at other venues throughout Canada—including Toronto’s CONTACT Photography Festival during this fall’s Nuit Blanche— Land of None | Land of Us is an exhibition of contemporary circumpolar photography. The exhibition challenges the idea of an “unoccupied” or “vast, empty” Arctic by sharing images of Indigenous and other northerner connections to land, knowledges, practices, relationships and kinships around the circumpolar world, firmly establishing that we have always been here. Land of None | Land of Us is curated by northern Indigenous curators Jennifer Bowen, Alice Marie Jektevik, Melissa Shaginoff and Jessica Winters, and mentored by Pat Kane, co-founder and President of the Far North Photo Festival, and Dr. Heather Igloliorte, Arctic Arts Summit Curator of Visual Arts.
Regardless of the borders that we live between, Indigenous people of the circumpolar North share a common understanding: the land and its fluctuations are paramount to our livelihood. Our connection to the land shapes our everyday lives, values, traditions and art, and very little of these aspects of us are shaped by modern-day colonial boundaries.
The exhibition title Land of None / Land of Us refers to the Lockean principles of land ownership dating back to the 1600s, which gave colonizers the lawful right to claim Indigenous land by naming it Terra Nullius, meaning land belonging to no one.
These Lockean principles allowed for colonial advancement in, among others, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Nordic countries. Indigenous communities today still struggle to obtain ownership of the land, and are fighting foreign and domestic companies, supported by the colonizing states, that are establishing mines, pipelines, oil rigs, windmills, fishing farms and tourist expansion on their lands and in their fjords.
These principles are in conflict with Indigenous ways of being and are defined by the notion that we are separate from the land. That we need to take care of it or protect it from human presence. Indigenous beliefs center the opposite. We are the same as the land, the animals, and the water. We are thriving. The land is us.
This exhibition challenges how our homelands have been wrongfully labeled Terra Nullius – land of no one, and highlights the Indigenous inhabitants and guardians of the land who have dwelled here for thousands of years. In the exhibition, you will notice that the areas are introduced by their original names in the original languages of the areas.
Land of None / Land of Us features Indigenous photographers inspired by their Northern landscapes and our ongoing presence and engagement with these lands and waters. Combining the genres of lifestyle, documentary, landscape and portrait photography, these accomplished photographers create a collection of images that reflect each photographer’s Indigenous culture from within their traditional territories.
Melissa Shaginoff (Ahtna & Paiute), Dgheyey Kaq’, Alaska; Jennifer Bowen (Dene), Denendeh; Alice Marie Jektevik (Sámi), Áttir, Sápmi; Jessica Winters (Inuk), Makkovik, Nunatsiavut.
Pat Kane (Ashinaabe), Denendeh.
Agnieszka Sosnowska (Iceland); Anders Berthelsen (Inuit Nunaat), Angu Motzfeldt (Inuit Nunaat), Anne Katja Gaup (Sápmi), Arlyn Charlie (Gwich’in), Birthinnguaq Lange (Inuit Nunaat), Carl Johan (Sápmi), Carson Tagoona (Inuit Nunaat), Christian Solbeck (Inuit Nunaat), Cody Mantla (Tłı̨chǫ traditional homelands), David Stewart (Settler/Scottish in Inuvik), Deenaalee Hodgdon (Deg Xit’an Dené, Anvik, Alaska), Eldred Allen (Inuit Nunaat), Ellijah Neeley (Ahtna Athabascan homelands), Golga Oscar (Yup’ik homelands), Heida Helgadottir (Iceland), Iris Egilsdatter Somby (Sápmi), Jamie Stevenson (Tłı̨chǫ traditional homelands), Jenny Irene Miller (Inupiaq homelands), Kali Spitzer (Lək̓ʷəŋən homelands), Kristian Binder (Sápmi), Lada Suomenrinne (Sápmi), Lucasi Kiatainaq (Inuit Nunaat), Malaya Qaunirq Chapman (Inuit Nunaat), Marita Kristin Eilertsen Tøsse (Sápmi), Maureen Gruben (Inuit Nunaat), Meeka Steen (Inuit Nunaat), Millie Olsen (Mayo homelands), Minnie Clark (Tlingit homelands), Morgan Tsetta (Denendeh), Ørjan Marakatt Bertelsen (Sápmi), Robert Kautuk (Inuit Nunaat), Sergey Gavrilov (Sápmi), Steve Nilsen (Sápmi), Ukjese van Kampen (Champagne and Aishihik First Nations land), Yael Bar Cohen (Iceland).
Land of None / Land of Us is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership and the Inuit Art Foundation.
Alice Marie Jektevik
(born. 1989) is a Sea Sámi art and music producer living in Tromsø, Norway. Her homelands are on the island Áttir in Lulli-Romsa. Jektevik runs her own company focused around evolving Sámi art projects and the further development of the Sámi art and culture field. She has previously produced the indigenous festival Riddu Riđđu (2017-2020), and is currently the guest producer at the Sámi festival Márkomeannu (2022), and guest producer at The Lásságámmi foundation (2021-2022).
Jektevik produces in the space between art, politics, history and modern expressions. She works with different artists within different genres, and loves exploring new expressions and art forms. She is a member of the all-female Sámi DJ-collective Article 3, who exclusively play indigenous bangers from all around the world.
is a Ph.D. student of Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. She is an independent Indigenous curator of online exhibitions, short documentary films, and sculptural artists. Jennifer received her BFA at the University of Lethbridge and MA at the University of Victoria where she was awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal (2021). Jennifer’s research practice has explored the history of exhibition design of the Northern Athapaskan people and a copper dagger associated with the people. Her current research project looks at the emergence of Indigenous painters and sculptors within Denendeh from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Fellowship Canadian Art History Program
Contact: Jocelyn Anderson | Working Title: “Dene Contemporary”
My research project proposes to examine the history of contemporary Dene art in the latter half of the twentieth century. I will identify Dene artists who developed contemporary art practices established in the 1960s with the formation of the Indian Brotherhood that led to the establishment of the Dene Nation and the Native Women’s Association in the Northwest Territories. Artists who visually explored new materials and new forms of self-expression that draw from a land-based aesthetic rooted in the subarctic to modern representations of nationhood. Indigenous artists have transformed the functional design of Northern Athapaskan art into a contemporary expression.
is an inuk painter, printmaker, textile artist and emerging curator from Makkovik, Nunatsiavut, NL. She got her artistic start at an early age thanks to her family of accomplished craftspeople, including grandmother Nellie Winters, a celebrated textile artist. Jessica has been heavily influenced by her studies in biology, and uses her work to advocate for the preservation of Inuit culture, values and surrounding environment.
In 2019, she curated Billy Gauthier’s first major solo exhibition, Saunituinnaulungitotluni | Beyond Bone at The Rooms. Since then, she has worked on a photography exhibition titled Regeneration for the Bonavista Biennale in 2020, and a film screening titled Sanningajuk for Center Clark in Montreal.
is part of the Udzisyu (caribou) and Cui Ui Ticutta (fish-eater) clans from Nay’dini’aa Na Kayax (Chickaloon Village, Alaska). She is an Ahtna and Paiute person, an artist, a curator, and an Auntie. Her work is shaped by the framework and intricacies of Indigenous ceremonies and social structures. Melissa centers conversation in her art practice, searching for deeper understanding through moments of exchange and reciprocity. She has completed artist residencies in Sweden, Italy, Canada, and Alaska. She is currently engaged in a year-long artist residency designed in collaboration with The Nave, a historic building and community space in Dgheyey Kaq’ (Anchorage). She has curated and juried art exhibitions with the Anchorage Museum, Alaska Pacific University, University Alaska Anchorage, the Coe Center, the International Folk Art Museum, and the Fairbanks Art Association. Melissa has been published in the Alaska Humanities FORUM Magazine, First American Art Magazine, Inuit Art Quarterly, and the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center’s Learning Lab. She is a founding member of Łuk’ae Tse’ Taas (fish head soup) Comics, a new media collective focusing on Indigenous co-authorship and representation in science-fiction narratives.
is a photographer in Yellowknife, located on Chief Drygeese Territory, the traditional homelands of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Northwest Territories. He takes a documentary approach to stories about people and life in Northern Canada with a special focus on issues important to Indigenous people, including the relationship between land and identity.
Pat is the co-founder and president of the Far North Photo Festival — a platform to help elevate the work of visual storytellers across the Arctic. Pat is a National Geographic Society grantee, a Royal Canadian Geographical Society grantee, and an alumni of the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. Pat identifies as mixed Indigenous/settler as a proud Algonquin Anishinaabe member of the Timiskaming First Nation (Quebec). He’s part of the photo collectives Indigenous Photograph and Boreal Collective. His work has been published and exhibited worldwide.
Agnieszka Sosnowska was born in Warsaw, Poland and was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and A MFA from Boston University. She is currently an elementary school teacher. She lives on a farm in East Iceland. She is recognized for her self portraits that span 30 years. Currently she is working on a series that embodies her life as an immigrant in Iceland. She uses the camera to take inspiration from her daily life.
Sosnowska has been the recipient of a number of grants, including a Fulbright Scholars Fellowship to Poland and an American Scandinavian Fellowship to Iceland. She was awarded the Hjálmar R. Bárðarson Photography Grant by the National Museum of Iceland. Her series was awarded the Director’s Choice by the Center awards in 2017 and she has been in the Top 50 of Critical Mass on 3 occasions.
Awarded the Lensculture, “In my Backyard” won first place in the Visual Storytelling Awards in 2015 and “A Year Book” won first place in the Exposure Awards in 2020. Her work has been exhibited in the National Museum of Iceland and the Reykjavik Museum of Photography.
In 2021 she was awarded a listamannalaun by the Icelandic government. The topic of the grant is erosion. She will collaborate with writer Ingunn Spædal on this series to combine poetry with image. She is represented exclusively by Vision Neil Folberg Gallery in Jerusalem. Her work has been shown at numerous fairs such as AIPAD and Photo London.
Before I started working with my camera, I worked with people. My interest in cameras started early, as my uncle always had a camera with him, everywhere he went. I watched him filming, taking photos during my childhood. Even though I had my interest in cameras, I didn’t start early. Instead, I found a job like everyone else. A job as an institution officer.
After five years as an institution officer, I quit my job. I didn’t have a lot of options, since I hadn’t finished high school and made a rather unusual decision. I decided to start my own company. My own production company. I learned everything by myself, I struggled to make the ends meet and I didn’t make a lot of money. I struggled to pay my own bills, but I went on. I knew, if I worked hard and found clients and if I delivered, I would begin to get regular customers and people would start to approve my work.
One day, after about ten years I realized, I wasn’t struggling to pay my bills anymore. People from all over the world reach out to me to collaborate. I have now worked with National Geographic, DR, made a tons of music videos, made documentaries, movies, taken a lot of pictures, both for others and for my own.
When I am not busy, I enjoy taking pictures of people, of nature and different situations. I always have a camera with me, and I can say that I now consider the camera as a part of myself. I consider myself a cameraman, a creative soul. I am fortunate to be able to provide myself with something I am passionate about. To take still and live pictures of people and of different situations. Both ordered of by myself.
I was born in Qaqortoq in 1976, and grew up in South Greenland. I was a daydreaming boy and I am to some extent still a dreamer. I remember when a friend of my mother took a picture of a friend and me playing in the snow. Later, he came by and gave us a small print that he developed at home. It was like a magic trick.
At age 11 I got my first camera from my uncle and he showed me the basics. I never really thought about it, the camera was just a part of me. I would take pictures of everything. I just loved the sound of the shutter. I loved the anticipation of getting the roll back from development.
Two weeks of waiting for mail from Denmark. Today everything is instant. Digitally instant. I try to keep it simple. Analog approach. Taking my time.
What do I see? What am I seeing while I am daydreaming? Is it interesting? Does it correlate with a dream I had?
Sometimes it happens. When it happens, I try to capture it. Something from a parallel world.
Ánne Kátjá Gaup (Sápmi)
Ánne Kátjá Gaup (b. 1996) is an indigenous photographer and filmmaker born in Kautokeino, Norway. She is also a reindeer herder and owner and works together with her family. Since Ánne Kátjá was a child, she has spent a lot of time in and with nature. She often uses nature as an element in her work with photography. She works mainly with photography genres such as portraits and weddings, but also specializes in photographing reindeer in their natural environment. Ánne Kátjás did her first photo exhibition when she was 17 years old: “Boazodoallu, min eallin (Reindeer husbandry, our life)”.
Arlyn Charlie (Gwich’in)
Arlyn Charlie is a Two-Spirited multidisciplinary artist based out of Teetł’it Zheh (Fort McPherson). A published writer and photographer, his work is based solely on the documentation and preservation of the Gwich’in people. Guided by the belief that language and culture are the foundations of one’s identity, he stresses the high importance of both, for one cannot truly exist without the other. The story being fundamental to his culture and work, he uses photography and writing to share the story of the Gwich’in language, customs, and practices, by documenting his own experience in learning how to speak the language and participating in the traditional practices.
Birthinnguaq Lange (Inuit Nunaat)
I live in Ikerasak with my husband. Due to educational purposes, I have lived in Uummannaq, Kangerlussuaq, Aasiaat, Nuuk and Qaqortoq. After I got my office assistant diploma in business college, we’ve decided to move back home.
Photography is my hobby. I love taking pictures that represents our culture and nature. I only post the pictures I’ve taken to my Instagram page (@birthinnguaq). The first time I was a part of an exhibition, was in Far North Photo Festival 2020 in Canada.
Title of Work: Ikerasak (2020)
Ikerasak is a settlement of Uummannaq with about 250 inhabitants. The settlement was founded in 1799, which means we will celebrate 225 years of Ikerasak in 2024. In the 1960s, when there was a municipal council, several settlements were forced to move to bigger towns, by the Danish government, when they implemented a centralization agenda called G-60. Ikerasak was one of the settlements that was supposed to be closed down, but the locals, led by Johannes Therkelsen, fought to keep the settlement and they succeeded in doing so.
Fishing is the main occupation amongst the inhabitants. During the winter, they would fish in the sea ice either by a dogsledge or by snowmobile, under the polar night. The polar night lasts from November to February, where we don’t see the sun during that time period. During the summer fishers would fish by sailing with motorboats, with the midnight sun around us. There is an elementary school in Ikerasak, which is the only educational place. Even then, pupils will have to move to the nearest town to graduate 10th grade. If you need to take a higher education, you need to move to a different town. There aren’t currently many students from our settlement. Majority of people who have graduated from higher educations don’t come home, due to missing of occupations corresponding to their educational rank. This picture was taken during the night, in the summer, with the midnight sun around us. Even though there isn’t much to do in Ikerasak, I feel rich because of the beautiful nature we are surrounded by.
Carson Tagoona (Inuit Nunaat)
Carson Tagoona’s passion for photography and videography began at a young age. As a Nunavik Beneficiary, Carson grew up in the Northern Quebec community of Kuujjuaq, spending many of his weekends out on the land with his family. These camping trips were really the seed that grew into Carson’s passion for capturing images.
The beauty of Nunavik’s landscapes, along with the unique activities that surround Inuit culture, is largely the reason that Carson picked up a camera and began documenting the world around him. After graduating from high school, he moved to Montreal to pursue post-secondary studies in Hypermedia Technology and Publication Studies, a graphic and web-design program at John Abbott College.
Carson still lives and works In Montreal as the Director of Communications for Makivik, a political organization that represents the Inuit of Nunavik. Carson always has a camera nearby while he goes about his day to day work and keeps it even closer when he flies home to go on camping trips with family.
Title of Work: Stretching a ringed seal skin out to dry (2017)
In the summer of 2017, I had travelled north to go camping with my parents to our annual summer hunting camp Qirnituarjuq (Black Point). On this trip I was fortunate enough to successfully hunt a Natsiq (ringed seal). After butchering my catch, my mother took the skin and began the process of fleshing and drying the skin, I documented the entire process, with this photo being the final stage, drying the skin.
Christian Sølbeck (Inuit Nunaat)
Christian Sølbeck (b.1980) is a freelance photojournalist based in Nuuk, Greenland. Educated at Fatamogana – the Danish school for documentary and art photography and with a BA in Photojournalism from the Danish School of Media and Journalism and he attended the Eddie Adams Workshop in 2010. He works with a wide range of newspapers, magazines, organizations, and corporate clients and his pictures have been published in international newsmedia like The Wall Street Journal, Süddeutsche Zeitung, BBC, The Guardian and The Washington Post and in Greenlandic and Danish newsmedia like Sermitsiaq, KNR – the Greenlandic Broadcasting Service, Jyllands-Posten, Ekstra Bladet, Børsen, Politiken, BT, Information, Jyllands-Posten and Danmarks Radio – the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
Title of Work: Piniartuuvunga, Aalisartuuvunga/I am the Hunter, I am the Fisherman (2021)
“Piniartuuvunga, Aalisartuuvunga/I am the Hunter, I am the Fisherman” is meant to capture the soul of the modern Greenlandic hunter and fisherman – his daily and timeless battle against the magnificent and violent nature of Greenland like generations have fought before him. An everyday where his way of hunting and fishing is united in tradition and modern tools and with climate change as a new opponent. The emphasis of the project is the cross field of where the traditional ways of hunting and fishing mixes with the modern.
Cody Mantla (Tłı̨chǫ traditional homelands)
Cody Steven Mantla is a Behchoko based photographer in the Northwest Territories. He lives in a little community that he calls home Behchoko. Cody has always been into visual arts as kid growing capturing some stunning photographs in our region. He started back in 2015 being self- taught since then he’s gain allot of knowledge experience. He wins people over with his ability to connect with elder’s, youth people all across the territories. He ventures out allot never leaving his photography gear behind. While expanding, his dream is to eventually be able to run his photography business full time and traveling. Recent work assisting National Geographic caribou monitoring camps: Kokètì (Contwoyto Lake).
Title of Work: Phillip Dryneck-Elder’s Creation Portraits session (2020)
Phillip Dryneck dressed in a traditional vest made with extravagant colorful beads that his late-wife made for him. Sitting there smiling; awaiting to be photographed wearing his vest with pride.
Deenaalee Hodgdon (Deg Xit’an Dené, Anvik)
Deenaalee Hodgdon is the spawn of Malinda Chase of Gitrinithchagg (Anvik) on the Yukon River and the late David Hodgdon of South Naknek in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Their maternal grandparents are Rudy Chase of Anvik and Sandy McClain of the Santa Cruz Mountains and their paternal grandparents are Nona Ansaganok of South Naknek and Robert Hodgdon of Vermont.
In December of 2019, Deenaalee graduated from Brown University with their Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with an emphasis in public policy, urban studies and food sovereignty. They are an apprentice to audio-visual storytelling where they draw on oral traditions and practices of the hands to build representative pieces that act at the intersections of the art world, policy- making, and embodied action.
Through their work with On The Land and Businesses for Conservation and Climate Action, Deenaalee is primarily dedicated to the protection of seven generation fisheries, reviving Indigenous trades for next economies, climate justice, and facilitating emergent strategy and pleasure activism. They spend their summers fishing and harvesting in Bristol Bay and the Interior of Alaska.
Eldred Allen (Inuit Nunaat)
Eldred Allen is a Inuk photographer from Rigolet, Nunatsiavut, NL, who has garnered attention for his expansive and stunningly lit scenes of landscape and wildlife in his community, whose composition and colouring elevate their everyday subject matter to the extraordinary. His artistic journey began in 2018 with the purchase of his first camera and this self-taught photographer has been in nearly a dozen exhibitions throughout Canada in his short 4-year journey.
Title of Work: Blind (2022)
With my work I am very interested in providing new perspectives. I enjoy taking images of everyday landscapes, wildlife and activities from both handheld camera and UAV/drone perspectives that provide the audience with an entirely different view of something they have looked at their entire lives. I am driven to make images that elicit a reaction from viewers of awe and excitement as it is their first time seeing an everyday scene presented to them in a whole new way.
Ellijah Neeley (Ahtna Athabascan homelands)
Ellijah Neeley (b. 2005), is a seventeen-year-old Alaskan Native person. Born in Anchorage, he has resided in his tribal community of Gulkana for the last three years. He is Ahtna Athabascan and belongs to the Naltsiine Clan, the “Sky Clan”. Ellijah is very proud of his culture and is also very invested in his spirituality as a Christian. In his free time, he enjoys making art through his camera lens and has a real passion for film. When he graduates from high school he plans to go to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Ellijah hopes to make a change in the world through cinematic stories.
Title of Work: Stand Still (2022)
I was able to make this picture with the help of Emma Sheffer. This was an on the spot kind of thing, starting as an exercise. Ending in cool creative results that just cause you to stop and stand still.
Golga Oscar (Yup’ik homelands)
Golga Oscar (b. 1997), a Yup’ik artist from Southwest Alaska, pursues contemporary textile that reflects his cultural identity. He contributed to the revitalization of his ancestral artwork with innovative materials and design. Oscar explores different media that range from leather, skin-sewing, and grass weaving, woodcarving, to walrus ivory carving. A strong cultural identity shows in his work. Through his knowledge of intergenerational art forms and sewing skills, he fashions cultural attire to create strong visual elements in his photographic imagery.
His photography features portraits of Indigenous people to show the world the importance of Native Alaska heritage and the validity of our existence. He strives to indigenize spaces within the Western art world.
Title of Work: Self-Identity in Today’s Society (2019)
This photo is a self-representation of how I define myself in this modern era. I’m still in the process of regaining my Native identity through my research of archived ancestral knowledge. Within my research, I am also exploring the different art formats that my people created hundreds of years ago.
Heiða Helgadóttir (Iceland)
Heiða Helgadóttir (b. 1975) is a freelance photographer, I have been working as a photojournalist in Iceland since 2004. I enjoy photographing people and documenting life and land with my camera. I studied art in college and photojournalism in Denmark.
Title of Work: Eldvörp (2018)
Eldvörp is a 10 km long row of scoria and spatter cones, with centrally placed geothermal features and a borehole. It dates from a volcano tectonic episode in 1210-1240 (Reykjanes Fires). The lava flow covers 20 sq. km.
Jamie Stevenson (Tłı̨chǫ traditional homelands)
Currently based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories but originally from Behchoko, Northwest Territories. Jamie Wetrade-Stevenson (she/her), 23, is a Tlicho Photographer from the north, specializing in Boudoir Photography and Creative Portraiture.
Title of Work: “Her name is Nomadic, because my people follow caribou herds for food.” – Karen (2021)
This particular look was all handcrafted by Karen Murray, she created the corset out of natural material (wheat grass) and the bottom half of the corset is made with fabric from the store. The makeup look was kept pretty minimal as the goal was to focus on the story telling aspect.
Jenny Irene Miller (Inupiaq homelands)
Jenny Irene Miller (b.1988) is an artist who works primarily with photography. She is originally from Nome, Alaska. Jenny recently received an MFA in Art Studio, Photography from the University of New Mexico in Spring 2022. She holds a BFA in Photomedia and a BA in American Indian Studies from the University of Washington. She is a Beaumont Newhall/Van Deren Coke Photography Fellow, a Caleb Scholar, and a past SITE Santa Fe Scholar, Elizabeth Furber Fellow, and Fulbright Canada Killam Fellow.
Her work has been exhibited nationally at the Anchorage Museum, Portland Art Museum, SITE Santa Fe, Penumbra Foundation, Southampton Arts Center, and more. She has also exhibited internationally at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Canada and at the Incheon Open Port in South Korea, to name a few.
Jenny is a recipient of awards from the Alaska Humanities Forum, National Geographic, Fulbright Canada, and a Fulbright Canada Killam Fellowship to Canada. Her work has been published by Inuit Art Quarterly, the New York Times, National Geographic, Canadian Art, Fifth Wheel Press, Forum Magazine, and Lenscratch among others.
She is currently based on Tiwa territory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and will be relocating to Dena’ina Ełnena – Anchorage, Alaska in Fall 2022.
Title of Work (#1): Mom, Aaka, and Grammy (2021)
Title of Work (#2): Nora’s hair cut (lock 1 of 6) (2021)
Storytelling grounds my work. I am an artist who primarily uses the medium of photography. At times, I also work with video, sound, and sculpture. In my art practice, I explore the intersection of my identities, from my queerness to my Inupiaq identity, and familial and community relations. I am inspired by kinship, home, and our stories. This allows me to further understand my knowledge of self, place, and ways of knowing that have been instilled in me by my family, culture, and experiences. The work I make is quiet and intimate and explores notions of identity, place, Indigenous feminism, refusal, and access.
“Indigenous femme queer photographer Kali Spitzer ignites the spirit of our current unbound human experience with all the complex histories we exist in, passed down through the trauma inflicted/received by our ancestors. Kali’s photographs are intimate and unapologetic and make room for growth and forgiveness while creating a space where we may share the vulnerable and broken parts of our stories which are often overlooked, or not easy to digest for ourselves or society.” Ginger Dunnill, Creator and Producer of Broken Boxes Podcast (which features interviews with indigenous and other engaged artists).
Kali Spitzer is Kaska Dena from Daylu (Lower Post, British Columbia) on her father’s side and Jewish from Transylvania, Romania on her mother’s side. She is from the Yukon and grew up on the West Coast of British Columbia in so called canada, on the traditional territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən Peoples. She is a multi disciplinary artist who predominantly works with film photography. Kali studied photography at the Santa Fe Community College and the Institute of American Indian Arts. Under the mentorship of Will Wilson, Kali explored alternative practices to photography. She has worked with film in 35 mm, 120 and large format, as well as wet plate collodion process using an 8-by-10 camera. Her work includes portraits, figure studies, and photographs of her people, ceremonies, and culture. Kali is committed to creating space for queer and trans people, and BIPOC to feel seen and accurately represented in the ways they choose.
Kali focuses on cultural revitalization through her art, whether in the medium of photography, ceramics, beading, tanning hides or hunting. She views all of these practices as art and as part of an exploration of self. At the age of 20, Kali moved back north to spend time with her Elders, learning and practicing traditional ways of life and art. Throughout Kali’s career she has documented these practices with a sense of urgency, highlighting their vital cultural significance.
Kali’s work has been internationally exhibited and recognized. Notably, she has received a Reveal Indigenous Art Award from Hnatyshyn Foundation (2017), her work was part of National Geographic’s Women: a Century of Change at the National Geographic Museum (2020), and most recently her work can be found at the Heard Museum exhibition, Larger than Memory: Contemporary Art From Indigenous North America (2020).
Kali recognizes the trust and vulnerability required by her subjects to be photographed in such intimate ways and wishes to extend gratitude to all those who have been part of her artistic process.
Lada Suomenrinne (Sápmi)
Lada Suomenrinne (b. 1995) was born in Northern Russia, but she lived most of her life in the northernmost point of Finland, Sápmi. There she was adopted by his stepfather into a Sámi family. Her artwork takes roots in cultural identity and belonging. She explores her strangeness in the landscape of given heritage. Her inspiration comes from her curiosity of the borderland where the unseen lakes of Sáminess are. She’s having a dialogue with nature with whom she searches for the place of security as an adopted Indigenous woman in the middle of Anthropocene. Currently she’s doing her master’s degree in photography at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, in Helsinki.
Title of Work (#1): extract from Eatnamat:leango (landscape: am I) (2020)
On earth, surrounded by whispers from the underground. Rooting myself to a soil that is coloured with red. Mother tongue of mine shadow-made, takes me to the landscape of ancestors that is no longer their own. Seeking a path in the mountains that leads to where the circular flow of blood ceases. Yet, I am not dead. There is a family thread in the landscape of wilderness on indigenous land. Me, trying to fit into that frame and maintain culture by living the bloodline that is not in my veins. Birthing new lights without the bloodline of Father Sun. Will I destroy the balance of the underground kingdom, or will the northern lights abduct my children one by one until they see me screaming their names that used to belong to this landscape of mine? Am I a stranger in the future?
Title of Work (#2): extract from Yet Only Sun Could Burn (2021 & 2022)
There are consequences that have crossed or end too early, those consequences gave me a bloodline that is not in veins. Yet, I still choose every day to maintain the burning light of its heritage. My photographs expose hidden doors for discourse on belonging and my identity, that I have kept hidden because of fears. As Ana Mendieta has said that art can be a tool to tie you with the universe and photography being a dialogue between the landscape and the female body. In my self-portraits I tend to place myself as a stranger into landscape that I know: it is dialogue between me and the Father Sun. I want to tell a story through the animistic ocean that shapes the futures. Have you ever seen a forest crying as it would be its the last morning on the earth? Through my photographs I try to find my nest and fit the landscape as an adopted Indigenous woman, same time avoid the gaze of colonial minds. Yet Only Sun Could Burn is scene where I run through the imaginary ribs of earth, through what I run while carrying the árbi, that was handed to me by a son of Father Sun. It burns my hands, but the water runs away. When I was just a child, I used to talk to big rocks at the fjelds. The shapes of the stones look like humanlike figures sleeping in the womb, younger me wanted to hear the whispers by them. Laying on the rock, shadows dancing on me and father shining the path to ruoktot: it was before the fear of losing started to sing. What if I will turn to a rock? The inner world of my photographic series is like a poetic crash by tectonic plates of unseen and visible borders. While I stand in the borderland trying keep the roots in my hands. This leads to a discourse on if we still have the landscapes in the futures, and what are the sleeping rocks now that I have got older, and shadows are not dancing anymore.
Lucasie Kiatainaq (Inuit Nunaat)
My name is Lucasi Kiatainaq, I am a 23 year old photographer/videographer. My place of work mainly comes from Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik but I want to expand to different communities in the future. I have been taking pictures since 2013 but really started to take it seriously in 2018. With being immersed with wilderness, I sought out to capture the beauty of the north that is barely seen due to the lack of local photographers. Having lived in Nunavik all my life, I believe I have a unique perspective in terms of how the land and people work. I had my first ever exhibition at McClure Gallery in Montreal in May of 2022 and second one a week later at McMaster Museum in Toronto. My goal is to capture the beauty of the north and share it to a wider audience to hopefully bring awareness of the struggles we go through.
Title of Work (#1): First Kill (2020)
This image was taken on my Mavic Air, it was the first kill we had in the season so it was a pretty big deal. I didn’t have a gun at the time so I just stood there and watched everybody hunt. When I found out we caught the beluga, I started to fly my drone and captured one of my favourite images to date. This beluga fed many families and I believe we still had some of it 5 months later.
Title of Work (#2): Transcendence (2019)
With this image, I had been watching a lot of Youtube videos of photographers trying to learn as much as possible. One day I saw a video on a tutorial on how I can make an image that looks like it is floating. I went out to take an image and followed step by step to achieve what is now the image you see here. I have not tried it again but really want to try it with a different background that is maybe in the middle of the wilderness.
Malaya Qaunirq Chapman (Inuit Nunaat)
Malaya Qaunirq Chapman is an actor, model, producer and social advocate from Iqaluit, NU. When she was young, Qaunirq Chapman also grew up in Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), NU, and Los Angeles in the United States. She has hosted several well-known documentary TV series and acted in TV and film.
Chapman has stated in interviews that her experiences growing up in both the North and in Los Angeles has influenced the work she does now. As host to two documentary TV series that focus on life in the North, she is excited to connect and work with elders and experts of traditional life in a way that she could not living in the South . Her experience of being adopted is the subject of a film written by her mother, Heaven’s Floor (2016), of which Chapman is executive producer.
Chapman was propelled into the spotlight when she became Miss Nunavut in 2011, which helped her expand her social advocacy for mental health . She began her acting career on a whim when she was asked to play a small role on the comedy sketch series Qanurli (2011-2017) which eventually turned into recurring roles and production work. Chapman’s first dramatic role was in director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s short film Aviliaq: Entwined (2014). She has since been a host to several documentary TV series, including Illinniq (2010-2017) and Nunavummi Mamarijavut (2018-present). Her work on Nunavummi Mamarijavut has been integral in reconnecting Malaya with her culture and language through food. She has noted that the show, which provides her with the opportunity to hunt and prepare food with Inuit across Nunavut has been essential in honing her Inuktitut language skills and connection to her homeland. There are plans to continue the show into it’s fourth season in 2022, however shooting is on hiatus due to the global covid-19 pandemic. Malaya is also the star of Restless River (2019), a new Isuma Productions film that is currently being prepared for release on Crave TV and has been released in theatres in major cities and Iqaluit throughout 2019.
Title of Work: Every Child Matters
This photo was taken on world Indigenous day where a local of Kuujjuaq organized a community walk- wearing orange, to remember the children who continue to be found in unmarked graves in Canada, as a result of the residential schools.
Marita Kristin Eilertsen Tøsse (Sápmi)
Marita Eilertsen (b.1992) is a sami photographer based in Sápmi / Northern Norway. She runs a photo studio in a small town called Evenskjer. She’s 29 years old, married with two kids, and lives in an old farm. She took her photo education at the Norwegian School of Photography.
Title of Work: The one with the Youths (2021)
This picture is taken at the Márkomeannu festival. Keiino (popular sámi / norwegian band) is on the stage, and the youths are starstruck. The photographer used to be the leader of the festival and loves to photograph during the festival every year.
Meeka Steen (Inuit Nunaat)
My name is Meeka Steen (1986). I am Inuvialuk, I am currently living in Tuktoyaktuk, where I was raised and have lived all my life. I always have been connected to the land, the water and what they provide. That is what I like to focus on for my photographs.
Title of Work: Harvesting Beluga under the midnight sun (2021)
Harvesting our country foods has sustained us for generations. My thoughts when I was capturing this photo was how fortunate and blessed, we are to be able to continue our cultural traditions, to carry on the knowledge that has been passed on for many generations! Muktuk is a delicacy for the Inuvialuit. Mamaqtuq! (taste good!)
Millie Olsen (Mayo homelands)
I am a member of the Wolf clan from the First Nation of Nacho in Mayo, Yukon, where I was born and raised. My ancestral background is Northern Tutchone, Hän and Gwich’in descent. We are taught by our elders to live our culture, or we will lose it. Through my own artwork and through my photography, I strive to ensure that I can pass on the knowledge and teachings through my art and through images that I capture.
I am a mother and a grandmother who spends a lot of time creating and making traditional items for my family. My latest works include canvas tops mukluks for my grandsons and several baby moccasins. These skills were passed down to me from my late mother, Julia Olsen and grandmother, Mary Moses. I take great pride in using what I was taught and try to pass it on to my daughters.
Photography is very different for me, as I taught myself by spending time learning from other photographers and many hours out on adventures around Mayo. With great patience and lots of practice, I have been able to capture some beautiful images of people living our culture, smiles on the elders faces and our beautiful landscape. The Northern lights are so fascinating, I am always in awe when I am out capturing them!
My photographs have been used in social media, reports and I enjoy sharing my images.
Title of Work: Solar Blossom (2021)
In Mayo Yukon, I captured the northern lights on November 4, 2021, 1:30 am, during a solar flare storm. The colors were amazing, from green, purple and red dancing across the sky. I have never seen the northern lights so intense before! There is nothing quite like looking up into the sky, as the aurora danced for hours, displaying a variety of hues and patterns. My favourite picture was this one, as it looks like a flower blossoming.
Minnie Clark (Tlingit homelands)
Minnie is a Tlingit woman from the Johnson’s Crossing area of the southern Yukon Territory. She was raised on the family trapline, along with four other siblings, and attended elementary school in the nearby community of Teslin. Both of Minnie’s parents were very artistic; her father having emigrated from England after the war, was a fishing guide who painted with oils and acrylics, and her mother practiced the Tlingit traditional methods of hide preparation, and tanned moose & caribou hides. Her mother was a very talented artist who beaded, and crafted lovely moccasins and mittens; utilizing many of the hides she had caught on the trapline, and then home tanned. Today, much of the fur that Minnie utilizes in her crafts are from the family trapline, which she and her husband continue to harvest annually.
Much of her appreciation for nature, vivid colours as well as her eye for composition, are mainly attributed to both her parents’ love of the land, and the lifestyle in which they raised their children. Upon her graduation from highschool in 1978, she began a lifelong career with Yukon Government, working out of the little Forest Service office in Teslin. It was here, with her very first paycheque, that she purchased a 35 mm film Pentax camera from the Simpson Sears catalogue.
Minnie is a self-taught photographer, and now after many years, she has progressed to the digital format and uses a Nikon DLSR camera. Traditional crafts, and photography have always been a great passion for her, and together with her love for exploring the outdoors; when she isn’t at her sewing table – she will be found out chasing the light in hopes of capturing that perfect photo. Minnie’s craft work may be found online or through various outlets in nearby Whitehorse, Yukon.
Minnie’s photos have appeared in local publications, Up Here magazine, CBC television, and she freelances for the Whitehorse Star. On occasion, she photographs weddings, events and family portraits by appointment.
After 32 years with the Yukon Government, she has now been retired six years. Minnie & Jim have been married 42 years and now spend their retirement years with their glorious chocolate lab, Remington. They are located on Teslin Lake, where they own an operate the Timberpoint Campground at Km 1278 of the Alaska Highway. Minnie’s studio is currently under construction and will be operational this spring, where she plans to hold traditional sewing workshops, as well as photography workshops for those new to the lens.
Morgan Tsetta (Denendeh)
Morgan Tsetta is a Yellowknives Dene First Nation filmmaker and photographer, currently living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Watuth Nations, colonially referred to as Vancouver, Canada. With a passion for film, photography, and her Native culture, Morgan is committed to emphasizing the voices of Dene people and the power of Indigenous self-representation in media. After graduating film school, Morgan began work with land-based organizations in an effort to connect with her sub-arctic home community in Denendeh and her Dene culture whilst simultaneously continuing her documentary career.
Title of Work: Liwe in light (2022)
Candid shot of Irene Sangris demonstrating the traditional Dene way of cutting łiwe (fish) for students of all ages on Mackenzie Island, Chief Drygeese Territory during a semester on the land with Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning. A beam of sun from an above window shines down, casting starbursts of light on the slippery fish as Irene uses her rounded blade to cut down the belly of a whitefish.
Ørjan Marakatt Bertelsen (Sápmi)
Ørjan Marakatt Bertelsen (1976), a Seasami Filmmaker/ stillphotographer living in Birtavarre Norway. Specialized in nature /travel photography and ﬁlm. With focus on the Sami. Bertelsen has working with Norwegian ﬁlm industry/ together with many photo ﬁlm projects in Norway.
In December 2021 he released a documentary about the Sami woman Inger Ellen Baal, a woman that lost her hearding land and reindeers to the Norwegian Goverment due to a power development in Goulaš, Kåfjord in the 70’s.
Title of Work: Portrait of Inger Ellen Baal (2021)
The photography is a portrait taken on the mountain in Kåfjord, during ﬁlming the documentary ﬁlm Inger Ellen Baal «Eallin». It is also the cover picture to the ﬁlm.
The picture has been taken in her small cabinet the only remaining asset after the power development in the area that led to her family losing the right to practice reindeer hearding in the area, Goulaš. Back in the 70’s.
Sergey Gavrilov (Sápmi)
I am an amateur photographer or maybe just a lazy photographer. Many years I have used a Canon 5D Mark 2 camera but last time I prefer to capture images with an Iphone. Because it is easy and I spend a lot of time with it. I love documentary photography as a style of photography. Many years cooperated as photographer with sámi festivals and events such Riddu-Riđđu festival, Márkomeannu festival, Ijahis Idja festival, BeskanLuossaRock festival, Sámi Easter Festival etc. Some projects include:
- 2020 How’s life? – short documentary as part of Home Sweet Home mini-series. For more info: www.sapmifilm.com
- 2018 Vášši/Sámi hate – musicvideo screened under Skábmagovat film festival in Inari, Finish side of Sápmi.
- 2017 CD cover photo for sámi band Felgen Orkester of music album “Duhát Jagi Geahčen”.
- 2014 Maid dál?/Is it time for activism? documentary screened under Barents Ecology film festival in Petrozavodsk in Karelia and Skábmagovat film festival in Inari, Finish side of Sápmi.
- 2013-2014 ČSV. Muhtun jurdagat/Some thoughts. Photoexcitation in Evenašši/Evenskjer, Kárášjohka/Karasjok and Ohcejohka/Utsjoki.
- 2013 CD cover photo for Mari Boine of the music album “Gilvve gollát”.
- The 3d place in photo competition EISA MAESTRO, Russian stage.
Steve Nilsen (Sápmi)
I am Steve Nilsen (b. 1975). My favourite kind of photos to take is festival photos. At Márkomeannu I’ve been covering the festival for the local newspaper Harstad Tidende. In the last years i´ve done some work for the festival itself, documenting the atmosphere, culture and the people. I Also have work featured at CNN, NASA, Der Spiegel, and various Norwegian companies and the Troms og Finnmark County Municipality.
Title of Work: Márkomeannu (2019)
The Sámi summer festivals are a meeting point for the Sámi youth, and also a great place for experimenting with fashion. In the portrait is one of Sápmis fashionistas Dávvet Bruun-Solbakk wearing their grandmothers gákti that she used in her youth .
Ukjese Van Kampen (Champagne and Aishihik First Nations land)
As an artist/photographer I mostly deal with social statements in my painting, photography and performance. I am also a curator and scholar and I spend a lot of my time researching my people’s early culture. I mostly write about the early First Nations history but also create items based on our early material culture. I take photographs that combine photography of modern First Nations people and some of our old material culture such as the button blanket. The results of these efforts are photographs such as this example titled: Ama Kwanjia at Kwanlin. This is a photograph of my niece Tuskonne Blais taken in at Long Lake in the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation. This is one of my ways of combining people and the land, art, photography, and history in an image.
Yael Bar Cohen (Iceland)
Yael Bar Cohen, 35, is an art photographer, retoucher, videographer and video editor based in Iceland. With a BFA in Photography from Bezalel Art and Design Academy, she focuses on portraits, fashion and fine art photography.
Yael’s unique aesthetic spaces are a result of conceptual ideas which meet the visual, blurring lines between reality, memory and imagination through accurately composed elements and subjects in her frames.
Her photographs take the viewer into a semi-supernatural universe: exploring contrasting shapes, contorting the boundaries of perspective, as well as embracing the myriad of organic and synthetic textures.
Time and reality stand still and even escape Yael’s photography – and indeed also escape the viewer’s mind, providing a profound sublime sensation.
Her photography often comes from a place of imagination that channels the delicate equilibrium between a peaceful, poetic nature and the overwhelming reality of the world we live in.