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Tail/Tale/Tell: The Transformations of Sedna into an Icon of Survivance in the Visual Arts Through the Eyes of Four Contemporary Urban Inuit Artists

Title:

Tail/Tale/Tell: The Transformations of Sedna into an Icon of Survivance in the Visual Arts Through the Eyes of Four Contemporary Urban Inuit Artists

Florence, Kathryn ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8015-1604 (2019) Tail/Tale/Tell: The Transformations of Sedna into an Icon of Survivance in the Visual Arts Through the Eyes of Four Contemporary Urban Inuit Artists. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Inuit visual arts have been a feature of Canadian popular culture since it was thrust onto the world stage in 1949. Vibrant owls, dancing bears, and drumming shamans have pervaded museum galleries and trade showrooms for seven decades. One popular, recurring figure is Nuliajuk—also known by other names throughout the circumpolar world—epithetic-ally called the Sea Woman and colloquially referred to as Sedna. Qallunaat (non-Inuit) have constructed their own narrative around these images and their art history, which can ignore the role that art plays in the lives of the artist resulting in a skewed narrative and misinterpretation. In this thesis, I interview four contemporary Inuit artists to reveal how the figure of Sedna has transformed morphologically and semantically since she first appeared on the art market nearly 70 years ago. The results of my research propose that Sedna has become an icon of Inuit identity as well as a symbol of survivance against the tides of colonialism and attempts at cultural extermination. These contemporary artists are reclaiming her in their work, asserting her importance to their identity as Inuit and her ongoing influence in their world. Exploring her story in their art is a way for artists raised in the variety of situations and combinations of living within and outside of Inuit Nunangat to anchor their identity as Inuk.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Florence, Kathryn
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:September 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):Igloliorte, Heather
Keywords:inuit, art, art history, survivance, sedna, nuliajuk,
ID Code:985794
Deposited By: Kathryn Florence Math
Deposited On:14 Nov 2019 15:58
Last Modified:14 Nov 2019 15:58
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