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Start:
December 17
End:
February 21, 2022
Event Category:

Venue

The Bentway Skate Trail
250 Fort York Blvd
Toronto, Ontario M5V3K9 Canada

Organizer

The Bentway Conservancy
Website:
http://thebentway.ca

Moving With Joy and Annivik by Maureen Gruben

December 17, 2021 - February 21, 2022

Moving With Joy – The Bentway Skate Trail

Moving With Joy is an expansion of Maureen Gruben’s 2019 project Moving with joy across the ice while my face turns brown from the sun, which brought together fourteen hand-built sleds that were borrowed from local Inuvialuit families for a short-duration land art piece. Gruben’s installation for The Bentway Skate Trail features seven large-scale, richly coloured sculptural sleds. These display video footage and photographs captured spontaneously during time spent at her spring ice fishing camp in Husky Lakes, part of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Western Arctic. A montage of personal impressions from daily life, the video element in particular functions very much like memory. In cyclical, fluctuating juxtapositions, white feathers from hand-plucked wild geese float and merge with slowly melting snow; a vivid red auger opens a fishing hole; a loaded sled lashed with orange straps speeds across the ice. Sleds are created to move people from one place to another. Here, they facilitate a different kind of geographic connection by superimposing images from Arctic life and environments onto downtown Toronto. The presence of these sculptures under the Gardiner Expressway creates a parallel to the flow of traffic above; it also offers a counterpoint as sleds work intimately with the land and ice, and don’t require the industrial intervention of roads. The installation emphasizes that joy and beauty can also be powerful critical and motivating systems. It affirms that land can sustain us while remaining a diverse and stunning biosphere, and highlights the multiple potentials that exist for relationships between people, places, and ecologies.

Moving With Joy will be presented on The Bentway Skate Trail as part of The Bentway’s 2021/2022 Winter Season.

 

Annivik – The Bentway Studio

Annivik presents large-scale photographs shot in the landfill of Maureen Gruben’s home community, Tuktoyaktuk; the project takes its name from a (misspelled) bilingual English/Inuvialuktun ‘Exit’ sign that the artist found there. The English word ‘exit’, according to the Oxford dictionary, denotes ‘a way out’. The Inuvialuktun word ‘annivik’ has a more nuanced meaning. It can also be translated as ‘birthing place’, suggesting endings are not disappearances but transitions; that leaving one place necessarily means entering another. These concepts have acute significance with respect to our decisions about the constant flow of materials and products we come into contact with every day. Gruben’s photographs hold inverted references to landscape and still life traditions that reach for the sublime. Her images depict mounds and vast expanses of trash that appear at geographic scales, as well as focussing in on quixotic, accidental arrangements of discarded objects, many of which—such as a handmade sealskin mitt and ookpik—clearly locate the Arctic community. Several of Annivik’s images are overlaid or juxtaposed with texts. The source for these texts is transcriptions of Inuvialuit elders telling stories about intensely resourceful lives spent on the land, with recollections reaching back as far as the early 1900s. Gruben has rearranged the words to function as brief poems that use both Inuvialuktun and English. The interplay of image and language in this installation evokes the rapid change in lifestyle imposed on the region within just a few decades. While necessarily expressing concern for the overwhelming volume of waste generated in contemporary life, the work also looks towards reclamation and generates excitement around the possibilities for making use of ‘waste’—a potential with personal relevance to the artist, as her local landfill has long been a rich source of materials and inspiration for her practice.

Annivik will be presented at The Bentway Studio as part of The Bentway’s Winter 2021/2022 season.


About Maureen Gruben

Inuvialuk artist Maureen Gruben employs an intimate materiality as she disassembles and re-combines disparate organic and industrial elements. Polar bear fur, beluga intestines, and seal skins encounter resins, metallic tape, and bubble wrap, forging critical links between life in the Western Arctic and global environmental and cultural concerns. Gruben was born and raised in Tuktoyaktuk where her parents were traditional knowledge keepers and founders of E. Gruben’s Transport. She holds a BFA from the University of Victoria and has exhibited regularly across Canada and internationally. She was longlisted for the 2019 Aesthetica Art Prize and the 2021 Sobey Art Prize, and her work is held in national and private collections.


Thank you to our supporters

Image features logos of City of Toronto, Government of Ontario, Canada Council for the Arts, TD Ready Commitment, and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

DETAILS

Start:
December 17
End:
February 21, 2022
Event Category:

Venue

The Bentway Skate Trail
250 Fort York Blvd
Toronto, Ontario M5V3K9 Canada

Organizer

The Bentway Conservancy
Website:
http://thebentway.ca