Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Ijurnaqtut: Whimsy, Wit and Humour in Inuit Art

Curated by Anna Eyler

22 November 2010 – 30 January 2011

This exhibition explores ijurnaqtut, or things that make people laugh, as expressed by Inuit artists in drawings, prints, sculptures and film. Some artists depict whimsical images of play, conveying the energy and gaiety of games or the playful side of the animal world. Others reflect on the adversities of life from a comic perspective or employ humour as a strategy for coping with the challenges of everyday life in the Arctic. In small Arctic communities, humour and play served a crucial role in helping people cope with life’s inherent dangers and in maintaining social cohesion by diffusing conflict and imparting group values. Today, humour is a strategy of cultural resilience in response to decades of social and cultural upheaval. Artists represented in the exhibition include Annie Pootoogook, Andy Miki, Nick Sikkuark, Pudlo Pudlat, Josie Papialook, Floyd Kuptana, and Shuvinai Ashoona. Their works demonstrate receptivity and openness to our strange, incongruous, and oftentimes humorous world, and invite us to share in their experiences.

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