Piliriqatigiingniq

29 November 2015 – Not many kilometres on the boots this week, for various reasons, but I did make it to St. James Cathedral. More precisely, to the parking lot opposite.

Attracted not by the cars, but by what I could see as I angled through the Cathedral grounds.

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A great big mural, on the wall facing all those parked cars. Closer, it looks like this:

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I first saw this in hurried passing a week ago, vowed to return, and now, as I really focus on it, I realize it is surely Inuit-inspired.

And it is.

I read the plaque, learn it is Piliriqatigiingniq (“a pillar of Inuit traditional knowledge, to work together toward a common goal”), a July 2015 joint project by the Embassy of Imagination, Mural Routes, and Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association.

Those great soaring top figures of course catch the eye. The bird to the right …

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and the caribou to the left.

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But I am most struck by two other elements of the work.

First, by the way a modern snowmobile is central to the mural, slid  in between the kamik-booted, parka-clad figure below and the fantastic creature above, both of them saturated in traditional imagery.

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It reminds me of the work of one of my favourite artists, Pudlo Pudlat (1916-1992), who made modern northern technology part of his iconography. I have one of his prints, a perfect example:

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See? Fish soaring into the sky, pulling traditional komatik (wooden sleds), on which are lashed airplanes, which, with snowmobiles, are now routine means of transportation.

Second, I am struck by the interwoven bands of images that compose the main body of the creature.

Version 2

The Inuit have a great sense of one-ness, you see it expressed in many ways. Sometimes in row upon row of faces, as in this wall hanging of mine, the work of Rita Aviliavuk Oosuaq.

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In the Church Street mural, the concept is expressed in bands of fish, animals and human heads …

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and hands and birds.

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I re-read the plaque …

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and thank everyone involved.

Leave a comment

9 Comments

  1. DJ

     /  29 November 2015

    Oh how I would like to hear someone pronounce the title of this blog! Wonderful to see the connection between works I know from Walking Woman’s walls and the St. James Cathedral installation.

    Reply
  2. What a great find – really merits your closer look.

    Reply
    • Thanks — it’s really arresting, & has so many cultural connections. Nice to see this collaboration, among these bodies.

      Reply
  3. Mary C

     /  30 November 2015

    I’m glad to see that it has a plaque now!

    Reply
  4. hi Penny, The painting was made by 4 youth from Cape Dorset. Parr Josephee, Aoudi Qinnauyuaq, Cie Taqiasuk and Latchaulassie Akesuk. Piliriqatigiiniq is pronounced Pill-eee-reee-ka-tee-geee-nik. To work together towards a common goal! 🙂

    Reply
  5. also you can see more work by the group at http://www.embassyofimagination.com

    Reply
    • Thanks for both comments, the information they contain, and the respect they show for the artists involved. I have blogged about this mural before, and am happy to bring it once again to the attention of others around the world.

      Reply

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