As soon as Inuit became more exposed to Western culture and technology, artists across the Arctic began to incorporate these instruments and influences into their pieces. The rapid, often intertwined, progression of art and technology has captured the transition from isolated nomadism to almost-full connectivity in just over a century. Throughout these changes, Inuit have always shown an ability to adapt to their surroundings.
Traditional Inuit art was created out of necessity more than beauty, and often took the forms of small sculptures and amulets – relics of shamanistic rituals lost to missionaries and assimilation. Over the course of the last century, television, Christianity, and other outside influences have altered the style of Inuit art into something perhaps less practical, but still just as thoughtful and beautiful.
The more connected we become, the more we are expected to adapt to Western settings imposed on top of Arctic lands, and we are increasingly held to the same standards as Canadians who take for granted their access to many of the resources we so desperately need. In order to create a healthier future, Indigenous peoples must be connected, and must be included in the changes happening in our lands and around the world. Connectivity to the outside world came with the negative impacts of colonization, but as we are expected to live within the framework of colonial society, we deserve to have equal access to technology in order to be expected to capture reality, as time moves forward, as we all adapt to a world outside of our own lives.
From the first glimpses of southern technology within Inuit society, to the stark image of Inuit culture juxtaposed against Western society, the evolution of connectivity in the Arctic has become a vital part of Northern communities. The works that appear in this series highlight the ways in which Inuit lifestyles have changed, but also the ways in which Inuit culture and traditions have not wavered. They are each, in their own way, a looking glass into modern Inuit life. ◉