The Standing Together Through Art project, sanannguanitigut makitaqatigiinniq in Inuktitut, proposes to be a witness to the experience of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic among Inuit of Nunavik through artistic testimony, using the expressive and evocative power of art. Relying on creativity, the project wishes to foster personal and community wellness in the face of the pandemic.
Nunavik artists involved in the project create works of art inspired by the multiple facets of the pandemic experience, such as events and emotions linked to the situation, and strategies used to cope during this period. Four artists are currently producing artistic material based on what the current COVID-19 pandemic evokes in them. These artists are Mary Paningajak Alaku, Qumaq Mangiuk Iyaituq, and Pasa Mangiok from Ivujivik, as well as Olivia Lya Thomassie from Kangirsuk and now living in Montreal.
The mediums used for the works produced during the project are chosen by the artists and they include drawings on paper (black and white or colour), painting, digital drawings and creations, and beading work. This diversity of medium hopes to acknowledge the needs and perspectives of both adults and youth, and to foster a dialogue between generations.
Photos of the artists’ productions will be taken and posted on this site on an ongoing basis. By exhibiting the artistic works online, the project wishes to stimulate a conversation with the website visitors, notably around the challenges and resilience brought about by the pandemic. The public is also invited to take part in the project by sharing their own creations on this web platform.
What Is This Project About?
The year 2020 has been a difficult one for many people. The arrival of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shaking up ways of living all around the world and has brought tension to people and to relationships, not sparing Canada, Quebec and the communities of Nunavik. Unfortunately, the situation has not yet been resolved, and its effects are still being felt. The pandemic and its consequences bring much stress to communities already facing their load of difficult issues and challenges. Confinement, a condition now recognized as stressful for many people who experience it, can be especially difficult for households already facing challenging family dynamics prior to the start of the pandemic. People testify on social medias of difficult situations for children, youth and spouses. Isolation and social distancing can also take a toll on mental health, as well as other sources of stress brought about by the pandemic, such as fear, boredom, frustration and stigmatization.
Despite these challenges, people show strength and resilience, and at times innovative coping strategies in front of this situation which is new to everyone. As well, there have been accounts of people finding positive aspects to confinement, such as enjoyable circumstances or occasions to devote more time to resourcing activities for themselves or for the family.
Different strategies exist to cope during stressful times. Among these, art as an act of creation and expression has shown to be capable of soothing the experience of people going through hardship. Art can evoke emotions and experiences and can make us feel connected to others through this sharing of emotions and experiences. It may also stimulate creativity and have a soothing effect on its audience.
The project hopes to reach out to people who reside both in Nunavik and outside the region. As Montreal is a center of the pandemic in the province and in Canada, many Nunavimmiut are also thinking of their fellow community members residing in the city. As the project progresses, a conversation might start between Inuit in Nunavik and Inuit in Montreal. Some form of network based on sharing artworks and exchanging from them could also emerge from this initiative.
The Coordination Team
- Olivia Lya Thomassie, Program agent, Aumaaggiivik Nunavik arts secretariat department, Avataq
- Janique Johnson-Lafleur, Coordinator, Atautsikut project
- Lucie Nadeau, Principal investigator, Atautsikut project
- Andrée Anne Vien, Coordinator, Aumaaggiivik Nunavik arts secretariat department, Avataq
- Sarah Fraser, Co-principal investigator, Atautsikut project, and team leader, Pitutsimajut team
- Louis Gagnon, Consultant
Meet the Artists
How can I participate in this project?
The blog section of this website is a space where we invite you to express yourself in relation to the Standing Together Through Art project. This project wishes to use art as a way to express the lived experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and as a way to release stress. The blog is a place where you can share your impressions, interrogations and experiences. We wish for it to be a welcoming and non-judgmental space. By sharing your point of view, you will contribute to the development of an inspiring, supportive and stimulating conversation around the experience of the current pandemic.
Your postings may be related to the artwork produced by the project artists, or by other personal or general experiences related to the covid-19 pandemic situation in Nunavik. Your ideas, questions and comments will enrich the project and contribute to the discussion.
Publications on the blog can be done in Inuktitut, English or French to make it more comfortable for all those who wish to participate in the exchanges. The moderators of the site will ensure that the published content is translated into English, in order to allow wider exchanges among website visitors. They will also ensure that the content of the exchanges and publications respects the website’s netiquette.
The project also wishes to foster creative expression. And we also warmly invite you to share on this platform your own artistic creations related to the covid-19 experience. To do so, you can write to us at Janique.JohnsonLafleur.email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharing your work on this platform may do good to other website visitors and perhaps also inspire them to turn to the expressive and evocative power of art in these difficult times.
This platform is open to all. All communication on it can be done in Inuktitut, English or French.
The exchanges on this website rest on values such as respect and concern for others, tolerance and courtesy. When you publish on this platform, we ask you to be respectful among fellow commentators, but also towards the artists participating in the project and the moderators of the web platform.
The tone of your messages should be polite and display respect for others, including when opinions differ from your own. The use of ALL CAPS (shouting) should be avoided. Your content must be personal, not commercial in nature. We also remind you to be careful to avoid exchanging confidential information on the website.
Your questions or comments may be rejected if they contain any of the following:
- Hateful or derogatory remarks based on ethnic origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or physical or mental disability;
- Personal attacks, threats, insults or defamatory content;
- Vulgar, obscene or sexually explicit language.