News / Ottawa

Colourful new mural unveiled in the ByWard Market

The mural showcases the artistic talents of four young Inuit artists from Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

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There’s a striking new mural in the ByWard Market, which brings not only a bright splash of colour, but also a chance to celebrate Inuit culture and artists.

The mural, titled Tunnganarniq, was painted by four young Inuit artists, Christine Adamie, Kevin Qimirpik, Janice Qimirpik and Harry Josephee, along with mentors Parr Josephee and Joseph Pinguartuk from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, part of a collaboration between the Ottawa School of Art and Embassy of Imagination.

The name of the mural refers to “a pillar of Inuit traditional knowledge, meaning fostering good spirits by being opening, welcoming and inclusive.” Parr Josephee, one of the Inuit mentors working on the project, expressed how well this was reflected in the process of the project. “I was just amazed that one thing can get everyone together,” he said. “Three years ago when I was in Cape Dorset, I would’ve never thought I’d be here.”

The mural features a life-sized bowhead whale, was inspired by a story of a whale that was captured and found with a century-old harpoon still stuck in its body.

Tunnganarniq is the third mural in a series by the Embassy of Imagination, an arts initiative run out of Cape Dorset by artists Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson. Two similar murals, also painted by youth from the northern community, were unveiled in Toronto and Montreal in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Andrew Hunter, curator of Canadian art at the AGO, praised the piece and emphasized how important it was to foster young Inuit talent. “We’re losing generations. We’re losing important artists,” he said. “They’re the future.” 

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