Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth

October 10, 2009 to January 17, 2010
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Kleinburg, ON

In Inuktitut, the word Nunannguaq translates into “in the
likeness of the earth,” which refers to a complex system used (like a
map) to record ancient pathways. While travelling across the vast
northern territories, the Inuit were guided by maps imprinted in the
community’s collective memory rather than on skin or ivory. By using
this type of ephemeral mapping, all travellers were encouraged to
actively participate in the setting of directions and, in consequence,
developed highly sophisticated skills to observe and instantly
interpret the land. This ability to swiftly memorize visual forms
strongly influenced the works of Inuit artists and was noted by several
European explorers who sought out Inuit assistance in their mapping
efforts. The historical Inuit maps displayed in Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earthprovides an important visual context to the early works of Cape Dorset
artists. Remaining in close relationship with the natural environment,
several well-known artists such as Kiakshuk, Pitseolak Ashoona,
Kenojuak Ashevak, Kananginak Pootoogook, and Pudlo Pudlat recreate a
powerful story of a people belonging to the land rather than owning it.

More information:

via The Map Room