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images of 19th century Euro-sailor-Inuit interactions – and berries

January 14, 2013

Unnusakkut. Good afternoon.

I got up from a few hours at the computer (qarasaujaq), attempted a sip of smoothie, and it didn’t budge towards my mouth. A semi-solid mass – must be all the pectin in those fresh blueberries.

What? you may wonder, fresh blueberries? in the Arctic? in January?! I know! That’s life in the big city. The smaller communities are not so lucky. I am partly thrilled and grateful, and partly horrified at the environmental/climate footprint of this delicious, healthy treat. The Arctic crowberries, bearberries and blueberries are said to be way more nutritious than wild or cultivated berries grown further south – the land giving its inhabitants what is needed for survival.

But what I actually want to share today is this visual history pdf document:

NUNAVUT IN 19TH CENTURY ART: Exploring the artistic history of Nunavut through the art of 19th century European mariners (and one Greenlandic Inuk mariner)

From the Government of Nunavut’s Dept of Culture and Heritage (formerly Culture, Language, Elders & Youth):

The Documentary Art Project is a collection of 19th century works, produced mainly by ship-board artists. These pieces represent how many Nunavummiut lived in the early 1800s.

These images were selected because of their striking contrasts. On one hand, the art shows Inuit clothing, culture and traditions, and on the other, there is the stark difference of the British naval officers.

The majority of these images are courtesy of the Library and Archives of Canada.

Here is the brochure which describes the images, and here are the images themselves. (Sorry I could not figure out how to get an image into this post.)

What do you see? Look again. What else do you see? Look again.



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