Inuit and non-Inuit film collective’s work showcased in Art Gallery of York University exhibit

The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) steps into the future with its spring exhibition, which includes film, objects and photography made over three decades by Arnait Video Productions, an internationally celebrated collective of Inuit and non-Inuit women. The collective puts Inuit innovation and tradition first. Titled Arnait Ikajurtigiit: Women helping each other, it opens April 17 with a free public reception that runs from 6 to 9 p.m. It will be on display at the AGYU until June 23.

Film still from Tia and Piujuq copyright Arnait Video Productions 2018. Courtesy of Arnait Video Productions

Arnait Video Productions (Igloolik, Nunavut/Montreal) gives voice to several generations of Inuit who articulate the challenges and opportunities that arise when living and working between Inuit and non-Inuit world views. A free public talk with the artists that will be moderated by Candice Hopkins, a curator, writer and researcher, is planned for April 18 at 2 p.m. in the Commons, Suite 440, 401 Richmond St. W., Toronto. An exhibition tour with the curator takes place Sunday, May 26 at 1 p.m.

Events forge connections between communities

Imagine not sharing language or culture with your neighbour, yet simply opening a window and exploring the possibilities of what can be offered or shared through food, songs and stories is powerful. Premiering at  the AGYU, Igalaaq/Seeing Through is a portal where visitors to the AGYU can spend time with people in Igloolik through video chat technology as a form of exchange that promotes new configurations of Inuit/non-Inuit relations.

Film still from Tia and Piujuq copyright Arnait Video Productions 2018. Courtesy of Arnait Video Productions

On April 17 at 7:30 p.m., the AGYU opens the portal between North and South for a conversation between installation artist, curator, writer and educator Bonnie Devine (Anishinaabe/Ojibwa) of the Serpent River First Nation and Arnait members Susan Avingaq, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Ivalu and Uyarak (Lucy Tulugarjuk).

On May 4, the AGYU hosts a special three-way transcontinental portal between Igoolik, the AGYU and Venice, where Isuma – the celebrated film collective from the North – is representing the Canadian Pavilion at the Biennale. The conversation will be hosted by artist, educator, curator and Vtape co-founder Lisa Steele in conversation with Avingaq, Cousineau, Ivalu and Uyarak.

Arnait Ikajurtigiitis curated by Alissa Firth-Eaagland, AGYU interim assistant director and curator, and is a primary exhibition of Toronto’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, presented in conjunction with the 2019 Images Festival Off-Screen program.

Spatial-temporal relays

Embracing pauses as connections between two moments, Ella Dawn McGeough’s commission for the AGYU Vitrines opens a space across these three exterior windows where multiple entities might apprehend each other, rub off on each other or give each other power, meaning and reality. AGYU Vitrines is an off-site component of this year’s AGYU Curatorial Intensive Exhibition, Implying Pause (May 16 to 26 in the Gales Gallery, Accolade East Building, Keele Campus).

Ecopoethic openings

Canadian-Icelandic interdisciplinary artist Angela Eawlings’ piece for the AGYU’s Audio Out Listening Bench is a meditation on languages as inescapable lenses of human engagement. Rawlings’ sensorial practice seeks relational empathy between bodies – be they human, more-than-human, other-than or non – as an approach to ecopoethics through the actions of observation, tuning in, noticing, dwelling and becoming-with.

To learn more about the public programming presented in conjunction with AGYU’s spring exhibition, visit

The AGYU is in the Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.; Saturday, closed. AGYU promotes 2SLGBTQIAP positive spaces and experiences and is barrier free. There is no admission charge; everything is free.

The Art Gallery of York University is a public, university-affiliated, non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and by its membership.