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Future Snowmachines in Kinngait (Colossus) by Janice Qimirpik, Moe Kelly, Embassy of Imagination and PA System
January 6 @ 11:00 am - March 9 @ 11:00 pm
Future Snowmachines in Kinngait is a long-term project that leverages art as a tool for social action. In this iteration, youth artists from Kinngait (Cape Dorset, NU), Janice Qimirpik and Moe Kelly, imagined and sculpted snowmobiles from homemade playdough. The playdough representations were then scanned, scaled and constructed into larger than life-size sculptures.
Snowmobiles are an essential part of life in Kinngait. For youth, going out on the land with Inuit Elders and hunters is vital to transmit knowledge and culture, and to support food security and wellness. The process of creating the playdough sculptures is an equally significant educational experience, as the youth realize the impact of their imagination and creative expression. At The Bentway, the work becomes a conduit for Toronto to learn about the community of Kinngait and the expanded role these winter vehicles play in northern communities.
The project’s goal was to create an artwork that equally served Toronto and Kinngait, by not only activating The Bentway site with an unexpected sculpture, but also reciprocating to the community from which the artwork originated. All of the funds received for this commission at the Bentway will be put towards the locally-run Youth Land-trip Program in Kinngait. Therefore, through the making of this artwork, youth influence the future for themselves and their peers.
This project began as a part of PA System & Embassy of Imagination’s installation Towards Something New and Beautiful + Future Snowmachines in Kinngait at the Art Gallery of Ontario exhibition Every. Now. Then: Reframing Nationhood. In it, four snowmobiles were sculpted by Kinngait youth artists aged 13-20. Using a similar process, the playdough sculptures were scaled and cast into aluminum with metal from their former high-school that was lost to fire. Each snowmobile was then translated into an edition of four sculptures, from the original miniatures made by Lachaolasie Akesuk, Christine Adamie, Moe Kelly & David Pudlat, and Nathan Adla. The editions are available for acquisition and all proceeds contribute to the Youth Land-trip Program in Kinngait.
Embassy of Imagination (EOI) is an ongoing collaboration between PA System (Patrick Thompson and Alexa Hatanaka) and youth in the arctic community of Kinngait (Cape Dorset, Nunavut). EOI’s emergent process is a sustained mentorship that connects to local knowledge, provides technical and innovative art workshops, and encourages community collaboration and engagement in the arts. EOI works across institutions and agencies to empower youth leaders. Activities have led to large-scale public murals, video and installations. EOI challenges expectations of youth-engaged work, strengthening Kinngait youth voices within their community and in urban city centres.