#CanadaGoesDigital: Cape Dorset Video Initiative
- Arusa Qureshi
- 23 September 2020
The High Commission of Canada in the UK partners with the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative for video series exploring Inuit art and culture
When the High Commission of Canada launched their #CanadaGoesDigital programme in May, the goal was to create a virtual celebration of Canadian talent that audiences could safely enjoy at home. The series of interactive, educational and fun online events were organised in response to the cancellation of live events and the closure of venues, and the High Commission, like the wider creative industries, are doing their best to come up with interactive ways to keep people connected one way or another during the pandemic.
The initial programme included an online screening of the 2018 documentary Earth: Seen From The Heart (English subtitled version of La Terre vue du coeur) to mark World Environment Day; a pan-European virtual celebration of Canada Day; the first ever iteration of a digital Canadian Moon Festival; and a virtual version of Meryl McMaster's exhibition As Immense as the Sky. Now, to launch the second stage of the #CanadaGoesDigital campaign, the High Commission has announced the Cape Dorset Video Initiative, a partnership with the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative which involves a series of eight video shorts designed to be shared on social media platforms and presented as a whole on the Culture Canada website. The videos, approximately one minute in length, will each feature various aspects of Inuit art and culture, providing an insight into a fascinating medium of work.
The West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative operates the Kinngait Studios at the Kenojuak Cultural Centre in Kinngait, and also maintains a Toronto marketing division office, Dorset Fine Arts, which is responsible for interfacing with galleries, museums, cultural professionals, Inuit art enthusiasts and the art market globally. The role of West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative further includes communications, promotion, advocacy, government relations and special projects as related to the Inuit art of Kinngait.
From September to December, the eight videos will be shared online at culturecanada.co.uk/canadagoesdigital on a frequent basis, looking at themes such as the environment, history and culture. The first of these videos – West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative: Six Decades of Inuit Art – provides an illustrated overview of the organisation's history and accomplishments from early formation to now, focusing on its unique business model and community ownership.
Following this first video, the next in the series, The Studio and its Hidden Treasures, uses archival stills and film resources to illustrate the history of the facilities built for the production of art in Cape Dorset. Kenojuak Ashevak: Inuit Artist Icon is dedicated to the life and legacy of the artist who defined Inuit art for Canada and the world; Canadian Inuit Art Goes International emphasises the connections and relationships forged internationally; In Their Own Words: Drawing, Printmaking and Sculpture in Cape Dorset presents the work of a small group of artists, each speaking about their individual practices; and Canadian Inuit Art in a Commercial World examines the impact of Inuit art both at home and abroad.
The final two videos in the series will look to the future, with Inuit Art on the Forefront of Environmental Change focusing on prominent examples of artists and artwork that explore themes of the environment and climate change, and Living Legacies: The Future of Inuit Art introducing the yet-to-be-launched international travelling exhibition, expected to be one of the most significant exhibitions of Cape Dorset art now.
HE Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada to the UK said: '"We are excited to continue our #CanadaGoesDigital campaign, a virtual celebration of amazing work by talented Canadian artists, creatives and performers that audiences can safely enjoy at home. We kick off Round 2 of the campaign with this specially-commissioned project consisting of eight snapshot videos, to be released over the next few months, from the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative which highlights Inuit art from one of the most remote regions in Canada. I hope you enjoy them and stay tuned for more!'