Photo caption – Sea Ice Break Up (2019), by photographer Robert Kautuk.
From now until August 2023, when you visit OCAD University’s Onsite Gallery, you will see a new and awe-inspiring digital mural on the exterior façade of the gallery at 199 Richmond St. W.
Sea Ice Break Up (2019), by award-winning photographer Robert Kautuk, is the third mural in a series of commissioned digital murals by Inuit artists titled, Up Front: Inuit Public Art at Onsite Gallery, presented in partnership with the Inuit Art Foundation.
Based in Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), Nunavut, Kautuk 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.
His work foregrounds Inuit self-determination, and documents, preserves and celebrates traditional knowledge to focus on the continued importance of hunting in Inuit communities and the ongoing impacts of climate change throughout the North.
Sea Ice Break Up (2019), curated by Ryan Rice, Onsite Gallery’s Executive Director and Curator, Indigenous Art, “is a drone-captured image, shot on July 1, 2019, from a cabin near Cape Christian, Nunavut. It 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,” says Rice.
“His 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,” adds Rice.
Kautuk has worked as a photographer and researcher for organizations and projects in the Arctic such as the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre. He is a driving force behind the Clyde River Knowledge Atlas—a digital platform that documents and records traditional knowledge while also encouraging Inuit community-led research.
Kautuk’s work has been published in various magazines, including Up Here, Inuit Art Quarterly and Above and Beyond. His recent exhibitions include Dark Ice, Ottawa Art Gallery, We Are The Story: The Canadian Now Photography Acquisition, Art Gallery of Ontario and Land of None | Land of Us, Contact Gallery, Toronto.
Sea Ice Break Up (2019), is also programmed to be part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in May 2023.
About Onsite Gallery
Onsite Gallery, OCAD U’s flagship professional gallery, presents contemporary, Indigenous, and public art and design to advance knowledge creation and stimulate local and international conversations on the urgent issues of our time.
About the Inuit Art Foundation
The Inuit Art Foundation is the only national organization supporting Inuit artists in all medias and geographic areas. It empowers and supports Inuit artists’ self-expression and self-determination through its many platforms, including the Inuit Art Quarterly (IAQ), Canada’s largest art magazine, the IAQ Profiles, artist services, awards, scholarships and mentorship opportunities.
About Up Front
In partnership with the Inuit Art Foundation (IAF), Onsite Gallery is presenting Up Front: Inuit Public Art at Onsite Gallery, a series of commissioned digital murals by Inuit artists. Onsite Gallery recognizes the important contributions of the Inuit art sector and is pleased to work with the IAF to support Inuit art and artists in the public realm.
The Inuit Art Foundation is the only national organization supporting Inuit artists working in all medias and geographic areas. The foundation empowers and supports Inuit artists’ self-expression and self-determination through its many platforms, including the Inuit Art Quarterly (IAQ), Canada’s largest art magazine, the IAQ profiles, artist services, awards, scholarships and mentorship opportunities.
Up Front is made possible with the support from the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnership Fund and the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and is an official Core program of the 27th edition of the annual Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.