Double Vision: Jessie Oonark, Janet Kigusiuq, and Victoria Mamnguqsualuk
Double Vision profiles three ground-breaking artists from Nunavut—Jessie Oonark (1906 – 1985) and her daughters, Janet Kigusiuq (1926 – 2005) and Victoria Mamnguqsualuk (1930 – 2016)—and shines a light on a highly distinctive art form called nivingajuliat that developed out of government-sponsored craft programs in the Arctic, beginning with the sewing program in Qamani`tuaq (Baker Lake) established in the 1960s.
Nivingajuliat, or wall hangings, were conceived by the seamstresses of the community. These brightly stitched textiles 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 mentored one another in producing unique aesthetic and conceptual lineages. The exhibition brings together artworks from public and private collections from across Canada and features remarkable examples of nivingajuliat alongside seldom seen drawings by Oonark and Mamnguqsualuk and paper collages by Kigusiuq that relate to both the technique and content of the wall hangings.
Double Vision will debut at the Museum as a key component of the 2022 Toronto Biennial of Art (March 26 – June 5, 2022). The Museum will partner with TBA to provide free and accessible arts programming across Toronto and surrounding areas during the presentation.
The exhibition and public programming will foreground Inuit knowledge and encourage cultural exchange through artistic, educational, and museum training activities, including a curatorial assistant placement for an Inuk student supported by the Museum’s Institutional Partner, the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project. Artists who actively create nivingajuliat today and community members from Qamani`tuaq will be engaged in workshops, consultation, and digital programs. The Museum will partner with TBA in activities to take place in indoor and outdoor venues using digital and online platforms, engagement tools, learning resources, and other programs and events. Double Vision will extend the TBA’s and the Museum’s commitment to working with Indigenous artists, curators, and communities locally and nationally.
The exhibition and tour are supported by the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
About the Curator
Candice Hopkins (she/her) is the Senior Curator of the Toronto Biennial of Art (2019 and 2022) and oversees new art commissions, exhibitions, and publications. Most recently co-curator for Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts, SITE Santa Fe’s 2018 Sitelines Biennial and the Canadian Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennial, Hopkins has developed major international exhibitions, including Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art (2013), National Gallery of Canada, Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years (2011), Plug In ICA, and, dOCUMENTA 14 in Kassel and Athens (2017). She has been published widely and lectures internationally and is the recipient of the 2015 Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art. Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon, Hopkins is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation.