Double Vision profiles three ground-breaking artists from Nunavut—Jessie Oonark (1906 – 1985) and her daughters, Janet Kigusiuq (1926 – 2005) and Victoria Mamnguqsualuk (1930 – 2016)—and shines a light on a highly distinctive art form called nivinngajuliaat that developed out of government-sponsored craft programs in the Arctic, beginning with the sewing program in Qamani`tuaq (Baker Lake) established in the 1960s.
Nivinngajuliaat, or wall hangings, were conceived by the seamstresses of the community. These brightly stitched textiles feature graphic appliquéd images, often enhanced with embroidery, centering on the dynamics and interrelationships between people and animals. Through these artworks, Double Vision looks at the matriarchal practice of Oonark and two of her daughters, and how women artists in Qamani`tuaq mentored one another in producing unique aesthetic and conceptual lineages. The exhibition brings together artworks from public and private collections from across Canada and features remarkable examples of nivinngajuliaat alongside seldom seen drawings by Oonark and Mamnguqsualuk and paper collages by Kigusiuq that relate to both the technique and content of the wall hangings.
Image: Jessie Oonark, Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), 1906-1985; “Untitled,” c. 1972-1973; wool felt on wool duffle. 129.5 x 85 cm. Government of Nunavut Fine Art Colelction. On long-term loan to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2.76.2.