Inuit Futures Students Working to Support the Arctic Arts Summit

Project Spotlight: Get to know the Ilinniaqtuit writing, curating, coordinating and learning alongside the Summit

ᓯᓚᕐᔪᐊᑉ ᑲᓇᖕᓇᖓᓂᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᒌᖕᓂᖅ ᓴᖅᑭᑎᑦᑎᓂᖅ ᑭᒡᒐᖅᑐᐃᔩᑦ
Exterior of a yellow and blue multi-storey building.

Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project is an Inuit-led training and mentoring project that supports Inuit students in post-secondary programs to achieve their goals by providing hands-on learning and training opportunities in a variety of settings throughout the arts and cultural sectors. As a partner of the Arctic Arts Summit, Inuit Futures’ Ilinniaqtuit (students/learners) as well as other students working on the project have been hard at work developing and supporting the Summit in various exciting ways.

Exterior of a yellow and blue multi-storey building.
Headshot of Darcie “Ouiyaghasiak” Bernhardt.
Darcie “Ouiyaghasiak” Bernhardt, Inuit Futures Alumni and TETHER co-curator. PHOTO: LISA GRAVES.
Headshot of Leanne Inuarak-Dall.
Leanne Inuarak-Dall, Inuit Futures Ilinniaktuq and TETHER co-curator. COURTESY LEANNE INUARAK-DALL.

In collaboration with the Yukon Arts Centre, TETHER is an exhibition of more than fifty artworks by Northern Indigenous artists whose works display the complex and inseparable bonds across diverse lands, waters, nations and peoples. Co-curated by four emerging curators and supported by the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Project, this exhibition is a perfect example of the mentoring and opportunity model the project uses to support students, foster relationships and provide opportunities. The four-person team of emerging curators for TETHER includes two current and alumni Ilinniaqtuit of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Project (Leanne Inuarak-Dall and Darcie “Ouiyaghasiak” Bernhardt) and two local First Nations curator-artists (Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé and Heather Steinhagen). The co-curators of TETHER are being mentored by the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Project Director and Arctic Arts Summit Chair of Programming and Coordinating Producer, Dr. Heather Igloliorte, who has over sixteen years of curatorial experience. Also supporting the co-curators is Concordia University Master’s student and Inuit Futures Research Assistant, Laura Hodgins, acting as the exhibition’s coordinator. 

Headshot of Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé.
Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé, TETHER co-curator. COURTESY TERESA VANDER MEER-CHASSÉ.
Headshot of Heather Von Steinhagen.
Heather Von Steinhagen, TETHER co-curator. COURTESY HEATHER VON STEINHAGEN.

The Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Project is also organizing the preparation of an exhibition of circumpolar photography. Using the same mentoring and training model, the exhibition will be curated by three or four emerging curators from across the circumpolar North as mentored by Pat Kane, co-founder and President of the Far North Photo Festival. The exhibition will bring together four sets of 13 works to be exhibited during the Summit and Adäka Cultural Festival throughout Whitehorse, as well as in Toronto through a partnership with CONTACT Photography Festival and two additional satellite locations. Supporting this project is another Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Research Assistant and current Master’s student at Concordia University, Sepideh Eghtedari, who is acting as the exhibition coordinator. 

During the Arctic Arts Summit in June, Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Ilinniaqtuit will participate as observer-rapporteurs, joining Yukon, Northwest Territories and international emerging creative professionals in Whitehorse as part of the youth delegation. The youth delegation will create content together for the digital platform as the Summit takes place. Their insights, perspectives and comments in the form of written responses, short videos and photo stories will be featured on the Arctic Arts Summit website.

Headshot of Laura Hodgins.
Laura Hodgins, TETHER project coordinator and Arctic Arts Summit Research Assistant. COURTESY LAURA HODGINS.
Headshot of Laura Hodgins.
Sepideh Eghtedari, circumpolar photography exhibition coordinator and Arctic Arts Summit Research Assistant. PHOTO: PEDRO BARBÁCHANO.

The entire Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership team is thrilled to participate and support these events at the Arctic Arts Summit. For students, it is an opportunity to experience and learn from mentors through hands-on training, listening and sharing, as well as an opportunity to meet new colleagues and collaborators, develop their circumpolar networks and envision new professional projects and opportunities.


Contributor Biographies

Danielle Aimée Miles is the Research and Administrative Coordinator for the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project, led by Dr. Heather Igloliorte. She holds a Master’s Degree in Art History and a Bachelor’s degree of Arts and Sciences, both from Concordia University. In 2018, Danielle was awarded The Elspeth McConnell Fine Arts Award during her graduate studies. At that time, she worked for several critical art projects, holding positions in the FQRSC-funded Beyond Museum Walls: New Methodologies for Public Dialogue Around Difficult History and Cultural Conflict project, and previously working as the Inuit Exhibitions Project Facilitator for the SSHRC-funded Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project. In 2018-2019 Danielle worked as a curatorial consultant to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Darcie “Ouiyaghasiak” Bernhardt is an Inuvialuk/Gwichin artist from Tuktuyaaqtuuq, NT and alumna of NSCADU in 2019 (BFA). Raised in Tuktuyaaqtuuq where the ocean’s harsh winds carve into the Western Arctic landscape, Bernhardt has a special bond created from this ecosystem to their family and sense of place. Their practice has primarily focused on the narrative of domestic life in the North stemming from memories of home. Their first solo painting show, titled Akisuktuaq, was shown at Feheley Fine Art gallery in June 2021. Their group exhibition, called Family Patterns, alongside Letitia Fraser was on view at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia until February 2022. Bernhardt’s work was installed at Nuit Blanche (Montreal, 2019) as a part of GLAM Collective’s Memory Keepers I residency, and they were the curatorial assistant for Memory Keepers II at Art in the Open.

Leanne Inuarak-Dall is an emerging Inuk and settler multidisciplinary artist, writer and curator based on the unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC). Through collage, textiles, beadwork and sculpture, her work seeks to articulate the stories embedded in materials and her experience as an urban Inuk raised in the South. Her work has been featured in UofTMed Magazine, along with audio contributions to Nagvaaqtavut | What We Found for WAG-Qaumajuq. She is currently completing her studies in Fine Arts at Langara College and works as a contributing editor for the Inuit Art Quarterly.

Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé, affectionately known as Ddhälh kït Nelnah, is a proud Niisüü member of White River First Nation (Beaver Creek, Yukon and Alaska). She is an Upper Tanana and mixed heritage visual artist, emerging curator and Master of Fine Arts student at Concordia University in Studio Arts. Her visual arts practice is invested in the awakening of sleeping materials and the (re)animation of found objects. Her curatorial practice focuses on filling gaps and writing new narratives that highlight the importance of representation and visibility of Northern Indigenous peoples. She was the curator of We Are Our Language (2019), Emerging North (2020), and co-curator for Elemental Transformations (2021). Teresa currently sits on the board of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective/Collectif des commissaires autochtones.

Homegrown from Whitehorse, Yukon, Heather Steinhagen is a self described “artist of sorts” with Cowessess First Nation (mother) and German roots (father, 2nd Generation Canadian). Heather’s passion for supporting creative innovation and community-building drives her career and art practice. She exhibits regularly and is often working on challenging and creative projects such as Indigenize Wikipedia (2018) and participating in talks like Becoming a Working Artist (2021). Heather has collected a Visual Arts Diploma (Vancouver Island University, 2014) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, focusing on Community-based Arts Education (Concordia, 2017). Heather has worked as an Arts Administrator for the Yukon Arts Centre (2015 & 2018), Government of Yukon Tourism and Culture (2017), and is the former Executive Director of the Yukon Arts Society (2020).


Credit: This story is part of the Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.