The work of three Nunavut artists — a Baker Lake mother and her two daughters — will be the basis for a Textile Museum of Canada and Toronto Biennial of Art exhibition titled Double Vision.
Jessie Oonark (1906–1985) and her daughters Janet Kigusiuq (1926–2005) and Victoria Mamnguqsualuk (1930–2016) will be featured in the matriarchical display of brightly-stitched wall hangings, also known as nivingajuliat.
The wall hangings “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 (Baker Lake) mentored one another in producing unique aesthetic and conceptual lineages,” states a news release from the Textile Museum of Canada.
Curated by Candice Hopkins, senior surator at the Toronto Biennial of Art, the exhibition will be on view at the Textile Museum from Feb. 16 to Aug. 14, 2022.
“Jessie Oonark has had a profound influence on Inuit textiles although she only began drawing and working with wool after moving to Qamani’tuaq at the age of 59,” said Hopkins. “Her practice is characterized by its symmetry—which has been described as a kind of ‘double vision.’ Together, the works of Oonark, Kigusiaq, and Mamnguqsualuk represent a matriarchal practice, one that is explored through the making of nivingajuliat, and how this practice and their kinship informed their collages, prints, and drawings.”
There will be plenty of other activities associated with the exhibition, such as workshops, consultation and digital programs for artists who still create nivingajuliat today and for residents from Baker Lake. There will also be a curatorial assistant placement for an Inuk student, which will be supported by the museum’s institutional partner, the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project.
“We are thrilled to launch our 2022 programming with such a significant partnership,” said Emma Quin, the Textile Museum’s director and CEO. “Double Vision builds on years of museum exhibitions and partnerships that have focused on textiles that reveal deep Indigenous histories while sharing stories of the people who continue to shape textile practices today.”