‘I try to move the Inuit’: Museum art exhibit kicks off Alianait Arts Festival

Digital art by Nuuk-based Ivinguak Stork Høegh blends the Arctic and the exotic

Greenlandic artist Ivinguak Stork Høegh stands beside one of her works on display at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit. The exhibit is part of the 2023 Alianait Arts Festival taking place in the city from June 29 to July 3. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

By Meral Jamal

Fantasy art by Nuuk-based artist Ivinguak Stork Høegh is bringing the Arctic and the exotic together this week at the 2023 Alianait Arts Festival in Iqaluit.

The exhibit, whose works blend the artist’s observation of reality with what’s in her imagination, opened Thursday at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum.

It kicks off Alianait’s five-day program of arts and culture events that includes performances by dancers, actors and musicians.

The exhibit includes a flag, handmade prints, posters and postcards that show Inuit in unique worlds.

A piece showing an Inuk trying to stop a dinosaur is inspired by the idea that “there is another world besides the Inuit world,” Ivinguak Stork Høegh told Nunatsiaq News. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

Høegh, who is visiting Canada — and Iqaluit — for the first time, said her work is inspired by the idea that we are all on “one planet.”

This rings true especially in Iqaluit where, she said, she has been able to speak with other Inuit from a country not her own yet in a similar language.

“We can understand each other — wow!” she said.

Through digital photo collages where she blends her own photography with images found online, Høegh said she’s trying to use her “fantasy to go to the real world.”

An example of this is the flag, the largest piece in the exhibit. It shows an Inuk woman from Greenland riding a zebra. Except in shades of grey and black and white, viewers are unable to tell where the woman is — in the Arctic, in Africa or at a zoo.

Høegh calls this work ArcticExotic, exploring “the juxtapositions between the human being or the landscapes from Greenland and the Arctic with animals from the African savannah.”

The flag, which is the largest piece in Ivinguak Stork Høegh’s exhibit, is part of a series she calls ArcticExotic. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

Other pieces in the exhibit that touch on this theme include an Inuk trying to stop a dinosaur, as well as Inuit kids who are afraid of crocodiles.

“There is another world besides the Inuit world,” Høegh said while reflecting on her work. “I try to move the Inuit — to have them travel and meet this other world.”

Høegh said what inspires her work is the idea that “it is all one world and we blend together.”

She said she hopes those seeing the exhibit in person are able to recognize and “see themselves in my pictures.”

Iqalummiut and those attending the 2023 Alianait Arts Festival can view Høegh’s work at the museum until July 3. The festival also runs through the weekend, wrapping up on Monday.

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