Interview with Laakkuluk Williamson­-Bathory

mage: Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory and Tanya Tagaq performance, 2015. photo credit: Front of House Photography.

mage: Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory and Tanya Tagaq performance, 2015. photo credit: Front of House Photography.

Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory a uaajeerneq performer of Greenlandic mask dancing, music, drum­dancing, storytelling and acting. Her career has allowed her to travel all across Canada and to many wondrous parts of the world. Laakkuluk’s poetry was recently commissioned for the exhibit Fifth World (2105), Wanda Nanibus Curator, Mendel Gallery, Saskatoon. Her collaboration om the Belly to the Moo(2012), a six part postcard exchange project connecting performance art in Iqaluit to New York was a Fuse Magazine artist project. In addition to her poetry, theatre and uaajeerneq, Laakkuluk is founder and Executive Director of Qaggiavuut, Iqaluit’s first performing arts center. She also curated projects that challenged outdated museum exhibition practices for Inuit culture at the Art Gallery of Ontario including: Inuit Art in Motio(2003) and litarivingaa? Do You Recognize me?(2004), which additionally brought youth together across urban and rural environments through Tauqsiijiit an onsite residence youth media lab located at the heart of the exhibition with participants from: Igloolik Isuma Productions, Qaggiq Theatre, Siqiniq Productions, Daybi, Tungasuvvingat Inuit Youth Drop In Centre (Ottawa), 7th Generation Image Makers (Native Child and Family Services of Toronto), Debajehmujig Theatre Group (Wikwemikong) and Qaggiq Theatre (Iqaluit). “m an advocate for the deep human need for all people, but especially post­colonial Indigenous people to express themselves at a level of creative excellence. I am a mother, wife, writer and performer based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. My three children speak Greenlandic, Inuktitut and English – all languages part of their heritages. I am passionate about spending time on the land – hiking, snowmobiling, boating, hunting, camping, eating wild foods, building cabins and cultivating raccoon tans are all activities that figure largely in my family.” 

Artist Project Details:

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory:ujimajaaqtuqanngiguuq "they call it traditional knowledge" is a 30 minute performance piece to take place at the Nunavut Legislature, based on Greenlandic mask dancing and incorporating storytelling and electronic music. Uaajeerneq is a clownish dance that is highly sexualized, frightening and hilarious. It is a type of entertainment that teaches children about panic, adults about boundaries, or the lack thereof and examines the limits of human experience in the unknowable immensity of the universe. Every Uaajeerneq dancer sees the performance as a self­realization in the face of decolonization. “As I develop my practice, I'm looking for ways of people, both Inuit and non­Inuit to see art as an individual exploration of identity, culture, politics, ugliness and beauty and not as a pageantry of "Inuit art." This project is taking a meaningful part of my practice right to the centre of Nunavut politics ­ the legislature, addressing this idea full on.” Laakkuluk works with a group of seven politically minded Inuit on community actions and political discussions, who will collectively act as the respondent for this project, creating an audio recording of the group’s dialogue for the project’s exhibition at grunt gallery. This group comes together to challenge themselves and support each other to make political change at a community and a territorial level, acting as a safe zone for political discussion and often collaborating with each other for other projects. Professionally, the group is comprised of artists, bureaucrats and in various positions of emerging leadership.

#callresponse Project Details:

#callresponse presents the work of First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and artists as central to the strength and healing of their communities. This multifaceted project brings together five site­specific art commissions that invite collaboration with individuals, communities, lands and institutions. This socially engaged project focuses on the "act of doing" through performative actions, highlighting the responsibility of voice and necessity of communal dialogue practiced by Indigenous Peoples.