This week we have been busy setting up Mapping Inuvik by Marie-Helene Comeau in the Community Gallery. This exhibition will be showing for the month of July and the opening reception will be held on July 10th from 5-7pm. Be sure to drop by, speak with the artist, and enjoy some refreshments !
Mapping Inuvik was a project that was started at the Great Northern Art Festival in Inuvik, NWT in the summer of 2011. While participating as an artist at the festival, I had the opportunity to incorporate an artistic project for people to share their stories regarding the North, specifically around the surrounding Mackenzie River region.
A quantity of satellite pictures of the area taken from Google Earth were used as the project’s starting point. These colourful images from the Internet offered unique views from the sky and provided evoking visual cues for the stories from the participants’ experiences via their connections to the various areas on the pictures. The satellite images acted as launching tools for the participants to be able to travel back in their own histories as they recount migratory routes, rituals and family life some time ago.
This form of validating human histories and experiences with the aid of modern images from the Internet, offers a path to link the geographical understanding of the human presence with individual human stories and experiences in the Mackenzie River area.
Using people’s stories and satellite images, this series of drawings and paintings create additional dimensions to the human history of the North and the inseparable links to the land. We have the opportunity to acknowledge people’s shadows and footprints that may be beyond the capabilities of satellite cameras.
Marie-Hélène Comeau moved from Montreal to the Yukon in 1992 after completing a Bachelor Degree in Anthropology. She recently completed a BFA at Université du Québec à Montréal and is currently sharing her time between Whitehorse and Montreal where she is enrolled in a Ph.D.program at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Her Doctoral study will allow her to combine Anthropology and Fine Art with a community art focus that will explore the Northern identity structure, specifically the Yukon French identity.
Over the years, Marie-Hélène has had several art exhibitions in Whitehorse and had participated for many years in the Yukon River Side Festival in Dawson City. It is possible to see her artwork in Whitehorse at Arts Underground on Main Street.