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Kakiniit and Other ‘Strange Blue Speckles’: Self-Representation and Qallunaat Images of Inuit Tattooing

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Kakiniit and Other ‘Strange Blue Speckles’: Self-Representation and Qallunaat Images of Inuit Tattooing

Jelinski, Jamie (2015) Kakiniit and Other ‘Strange Blue Speckles’: Self-Representation and Qallunaat Images of Inuit Tattooing. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Tattooing was a widespread form of self-ornamentation amongst the Inuit for millennia before the first Europeans arrived in the Arctic. European visitors to Inuit territories were fascinated by such markings, and after a tattooed woman from northern Labrador (now Nunatsiavut) was captured and brought to Belgium and the Netherlands in 1566, handbills with her image quickly spread throughout Europe the following year. This first Western depiction of a tattooed Inuit woman would soon be followed by many additional images by explorers, anthropologists, and artists created over the next several centuries. By the 19th century, the increasing colonization of the Arctic led to a decline in tattooing, which was paralleled by a decreasing amount of European images representing tattooed Inuit women. Although Inuit tattooing had begun to disappear from Inuit bodies by the late 19th century, it did not vanish altogether. Beginning in the early 20th century, Inuit artists transferred their knowledge of tattooing from skin to paper to create pictorial records of the pre-contact custom. This thesis explores competing representations between European (Qallunaat) and Inuit-made images of Inuit women’s tattooing and will begin by discussing how European images of tattooed Inuit women served as an imperial and later, colonial tool to understand and classify the Inuit “Other.” Following this, counter modes of Inuit self-representation that challenge these images and their attendant ideologies will be considered. It will be argued that the latter were a form of continuity that allowed the knowledge of tattooing to persist pictorially despite the decline of this practice in its bodily form throughout the 20th century, in some ways making it possible for the practice to be revived in the 21st century.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Jelinski, Jamie
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:31 August 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Igloliorte, Heather
Keywords:tattooing, tattoo, tattoos, art, images, drawing, kakiniit, qallunaat, Inuit, arctic, self-representation, exploration, Western, European, Canada, Indigenous, contact, autoethnography, imperialism, colonialism, continuity, Matthaus Franck, Hans Wolf Glaser, Anthony Corthoys the Younger, John White, Adriaen Coenensz, Arnaq, John Russel, Mikak, George Lyon, John Ross, Arnarulunguaq, Netsit, Knud Rasmussen, Fifth Thule Expedition, Jessie Oonark, Helen Kalvak, Germaine Arnaktauyok
ID Code:980380
Deposited By: JAMIE JELINSKI
Deposited On:26 Oct 2015 19:15
Last Modified:20 Feb 2019 01:00
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