Robert Kautuk Up Front: Inuit Public Art at Onsite Gallery

Apr 1–Aug 31,  2023
    Robert Kautuk, Sea Ice Break Up, 2019. Courtesy of the artist
Robert Kautuk, Sea Ice Break Up, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

The Inuit Art Foundation and Onsite Gallery present Up Front: Inuit Public Art at Onsite Gallery, a new series of commissioned digital murals by Inuit artists. In this iteration, Nunavut-based artist Robert Kautuk’s aerial photograph Sea Ice Break Up animates the gallery’s façade at street level, bringing his unique and critical vision of the Arctic to downtown Toronto.

Kautuk’s work foregrounds Inuit self-determination and documents, preserves, and celebrates traditional knowledge to focus on the continued importance of sovereignty in Inuit communities. The drone-captured image, shot on July 1, 2019, from a cabin near Cape Christian, Nunavut, focuses on seasonal change in the Arctic and at the same time hints towards the ongoing impacts of climate change throughout the area. Inuit witness and experience the shifting climate at an alarming rate, which has prompted Kautuk to chronicle and create such dramatic documentation and bring attention to environmental impacts that extend globally. Kautuk’s striking Sea Ice Break Up employs contemporary technology to eloquently map the artist’s vast home territory, conveying the natural beauty of land and water with an underlying sense of urgency.

Curated by Ryan Rice

Presented by Onsite Gallery in partnership with the Inuit Art Foundation and CONTACT

Robert Kautuk is an award-winning photographer based in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut. He uses a digital SLR camera and mobilizes drone technology to capture spectacular views of rarely seen moments, activities and landscape in the Canadian Arctic and his community. He has worked as a photographer and researcher on projects in the Arctic and is a driving force behind the Clyde River Knowledge Atlas—a digital platform that documents Inuit traditional knowledge while also encouraging community-led research. His recent exhibitions include Dark Ice, Ottawa Art Gallery and We Are The Story: The Canadian Now Photography Acquisition, Art Gallery of Ontario.