Kablusiak: Qiniqtuaq

July 29 - October 20, 2019

Fall Exhibition & Program Brochure

A flicker of movement behind the eyes.

Qiniqtuaq (searching/looking) summons viewers to peer through a wall of white curtain that has been punctured by dozens of ghostly eye holes. Inside, one catches fragments of a liminal, dream-like space and a mise-en-scène that evokes an uneasy sense of nostalgia and displacement.

Faded and difficult to discern during daylight hours, once night falls, colours saturate and the bluish flashes of a television screen beckon more insistently to passersby. As we press our faces against the glass, we witness pieces of a looping video collage of 90s-era television programs: The Simpsons, Emeril Live, Seinfeld, community shows from Inuit Takunagaksalirijiit Kanatami (Inuit Broadcasting Corporation), American Gladiators—shows watched and enjoyed in childhood. On the floor in front of the screen (perhaps even too close to the screen) sits a piece of oil-stained cardboard and a simple salt shaker, suggesting an interruption has occurred.

The trope of the bedsheet ghost makes frequent appearances in Kablusiak’s work; deployed as a device by which they wryly articulate a sense of their diasporic identity as an urban Inuk. Here, the ghost-sheet is reconfigured; unworn and flattened as a curtain, its role is ambiguous. It controls access to what is behind it—a potentially protective barrier, or perhaps a supernatural threshold—but it also asks us to physically engage with it. By peering through the eyeholes—some of which are cut high, too high for human eyes—we are implicated, and forced to acknowledge an Inuit presence behind the curtain. As we observe the scene before us, are we invited in, or kept on the periphery? Who now is doing the haunting?

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