Glenn Gear Kimutsik

    Kimutsik, Glenn Gear, 2023. Courtesy of the artist
Kimutsik, Glenn Gear, 2023. Courtesy of the artist

Glenn Gear is a multidisciplinary artist of mixed Inuit background, based in Montréal. Gear’s video projection Kimutsik (dog team) (2023) is the basis of the work presented across three outdoor banners at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA), which depicts the dogs untethered, set free to run through public spaces both indoor and outdoor. This installation is a part of the exhibition Oh My Dog! at PAMA, May 25–November 3.

In the work specially designed for PAMA’s outdoor banners, Gear has modified the silhouetted images of the running sled-dogs featured in his video. He collaged them against a kaleidoscopic pattern of beadwork, providing a striking background that enhances the sense of movement of the husky-shaped forms as they seemingly race from one banner to the next.

Kimutsik highlights events in the early 1950s when the Federal Government of Canada established settlements in the North, forcing Inuit to move off the land to live in permanent communities. This restructuring of Inuit life resulted in devastating social adjustments. Conflict arose in the communities between Inuit and the appointed authorities due to restrictions enforced under the implemented “Dog Ordinance” legislation. This law imposed an order to tether all dogs. If they were loose, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) or other agents had the authority to shoot them. By the late 1960s, the destruction of the dogs had significantly reduced their population.

In 2007, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) set up an investigation to identify the injustices done to Inuit based on the actions taken by the Canadian government. This investigative body interviewed over three hundred Inuit to gather information to report to the Qikiqtani Truth Commission (QTC). The report from the QTC investigation outlined the sufferings endured by Inuit due to the compulsory relocation into permanent communities.

In 2019, the Canadian government presented a formal statement of apology to Inuit, which recognized the government’s role in creating programs that led to the hardships experienced by Inuit, including the cultural impact incurred with the loss of qimmiit (sled dogs)—a crucial part of traditional Inuit cultural identity. In addition, QIA and the Canadian government negotiated an agreement for the federal government to provide financial support in developing programs for revitalization and healing for Inuit.

As part of his creative process, Gear’s practice investigates approaches to storytelling imbedded in his Inuit heritage and associated with Nunatsiavut. Kimutsik is a form of storytelling of Inuit history and a formidable statement on the ongoing resilience of Inuit culture.

Curated by Chris Finn

Organized by the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives

Glenn Gear is an Indigiqueer multidisciplinary artist of Inuit and settler descent currently living in Montréal. He is originally from Corner Brook, Newfoundland, and has family ties to Nunatsiavut. His practice is grounded in a research-creation methodology shaped by Inuit and Indigenous ways of knowing—often employing the use of animation, photography and archives, painting, beading, and work with traditional materials such as sealskin. He has worked on projects with the National Film Board of Canada, collaborated with other artists, and created installations, online works, and live video/audio projections exploring the complex relationships between land, animals, history, and archives.

Chris Finn is an independent curator based in Windsor, Ontario, who holds an M.F.A. in studio art from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, and a B.Ed. from the University of Manitoba. He is the guest curator of Oh My Dog! which is on view at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives. Finn was previously the Curator of Education at the Art Gallery of Windsor (2017–20) and Assistant Curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection (2002–16).