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postcards From the Moon to the Belly, or “so you think you know Inuit art?”

December 30, 2012

Here are a couple of images from a fantastic postcard collaboration, From the Moon to the Belly, between artists Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Maria Hupfield! Discussion group, anyone?

These postcards bring character into place in a way that makes me look again at familiar and “exotic” images. I love the swapping of torch for drum in the image above. Who lights the way to what destiny? Who owns cultural symbols? What do they mean when held in unexpected hands? And what would these 2 fierce women say to each other over pastries and seal meat?

As a White person who has spent my life on Aboriginal land, I am grateful for images which challenge dominant  narratives of “Canada” or “North America” (and “helping” or “health care” or “education”). It is too easy to maintain a settler-coloniser way of seeing things – even as a minority in an Inuit or First Nations community.

It would be great to develop an across-the-north discussion group of art and articles and experiences of people from here/living up here. I would have loved that when I was nursing in & out of smaller, isolated communities, wanting to give the best care possible with imported southern resources, while doing as little business-as-usual harm to the culture as possible – and trying to interact in ways which make space for the best of our worlds to come together.

Staffing agencies and government Dept’s of Health (& Social Services & Education & Econ. Dev’t) could really benefit communities and care providers by recognising that doing excellent health care (etc.) in the North requires more than an ER background. We need ongoing critical inquiry into what we are trying to achieve together, and how. If departments and agencies are not hosting this kind of discussion, they could at least point staff to resources which do.

See more images at http://fusemagazine.org/2012/03/postcards#.

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