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Tunirrusiangit on screen

June 15th, 2018

An Inuit man hides behind a bank of snow, with the light of the setting sun hitting his face.

Zacharias Kunuk, Maliglutit (Searchers) (film still), 2016, 2016. 94 min.,colour, sound.

Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak is officially open! Visitors are streaming into the exhibition to see the work of two extraordinary artists, Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak, who challenge viewers to respond to their art and the Inuit world view in new ways. This exhibition reflects the strong, unique voices of four Inuit co-curators who grounded this major retrospective in first-person narratives, storytelling, poetry and film.

When you visit, you’ll notice the big screen near the show’s exit, showing three film trailers — each of these films is playing this month (for free!) at the AGO’s Jackman Hall as a continuation of the exhibition’s content and themes, as recommended by the Tunirrusiangit curatorial team.

A person rows a canoe in icy water.

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Angry Inuk (film still), 2016. 82 min.,colour, sound.

Angry Inuk

On Wednesday, June 20, there are two screenings (at 6 and 8:30 pm) of Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s headline-making 2016 documentary, Angry Inuk. In the film, Arnaquq-Baril follows a group of Inuit activists – armed with social media, a sense of humour and a desire for social justice – who are fighting back against anti-sealing groups protesting the seal hunt, a vital and sustainable food source for Northern populations.

Co-curator Jocelyn Piirainen explains why she wanted Angry Inuk to be part of the programming for Tunirrusiangit. In addition to the fact the seal hunt has direct connections to Tim Pitsiulak’s artful portrayals of Inuit hunting trips, Piirainen says, “Angry Inuk is important as Alethea is also a woman filmmaker. So as an Inuk woman, with such a strong interest in film, her stories should be seen and heard.”

Maliglutit (Searchers)

Piirainen also recommended the 2016 Zacharias Kunuk film, Maliglutit (Searchers), which plays on Friday, June 22 at 6 and 8:30 pm at Jackman Hall. Kunuk is best known for Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, the first feature film to be written, directed and acted in Inuktitut; it won the 2001 Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. Maliglutit (Searchers) is based on the western film by John Ford, The Searchers; it tells the story of an Inuk man who goes on a journey to find his kidnapped wife and daughter with the help of his father’s spirit guide, a loon.

Maliglutit‘s story is suspenseful and filled with tense family drama. The costumes are amazing. It’s also beautiful to see the landscape’s stark barrenness. Zacharias Kunuk’s filmmaking stays true to history as well, despite the film being based on John Ford’s. Everything from the costumes to the qamutiq (sleds) is historically accurate,” Piirainen says. “It’s quite rare to see these two films together [Angry Inuk and Maliglutit], since they focus on Inuit perspectives. They have a certain style of filmmaking that attributes to the North that cannot be described, but seen.”

An Inuit teenager wears headphones over a beige tuque and a fur coat.

Photo of Gabba Petersen by Mike Magidson.


Finally, playing on Wednesday June 27 (6 and 8:30 pm), is Mike Magidson’s 2010 Greenlandic language debut feature, Inuk. It is described as a “road-movie on the sea-ice,” about the friendship between a 16-year-old boy sent to a children’s home, and a local polar bear hunter whose skills are disappearing.

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, co-curator of Tunirrusiangit, explains why she wanted this film included in the exhibition’s programming. “This feature film is from contemporary Inuit times and is acted by people who are living the life they are describing. The children acting were actually living in the group home they feature in the film,” says Williamson Bathory. “It’s good to show the diversity in Inuit languages and lives. Plus, it’s just a beautiful film.”

See for yourself! Visit the AGO’s events webpage to reserve your free ticket to these films.

And don’t miss Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak. Free with General Admission.

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