University of Victoria Publication “KULA” Features Q&A on Barry Pottle with Andrea N. Walsh
I think that the biggest contribution my work has made has been to bring awareness to non-Inuit across Canada about Inuit lives, whether that be introducing people to our traditional country foods or putting the faces of real people next to identification tags they were forced to wear by the Canadian government. The images are powerful and meaningful and bring awareness to our culture and contemporary life.
Recently Barry Pottle was in conversation with Andrea N. Walsh (Associate Professor and Smyth Chair in Arts & Engagement at University of Victoria) for KULA, a publication put out by the Library of the University of Victoria. Accompanying the article is work “selected from ten years of photography based on his experiences and observations as an urban Inuk.” One of the first Inuit artists to incorporate photography as an artistic medium, Barry shares how his decision to document urban Inuit life, particuarly the community of Ottawa where he now resides, has been a way to increase Canadians insight into Inuit culture. His Awareness series (view here), which focuses on the Eskimo Indentification Program developed by the Canadian government that required Inuit to wear identity tags with numbers instead of their names, and Foodland Security (view here), a body of work focusing on ‘country food,’ are the types of projects that he has garnered attention for. He comments, “I think a lot about how being an Inuk has affected the way that I experience bigger global economic, environmental, and societal events, and how I can express those experiences in my photographs.” A body of work that has manifested from his contemplations is a series on ice. Sometimes in a cheeky tone, Barry uses humour to make a point about the severity of the impact of climate change on the North. In Where Are You Now Brigitte Bardot? he ponders where the French film star, and her activism for animal rights, have gone?
Climate change and global warming are real and happening now. Inuit regions and the Arctic are melting. I question where are all people, where are their voices and uproarabout climate change and its effect on Inuit and global communities. Where are the Brigitte Bardots when we need them?
Read the full article here.
Where Are You Now Brigitte Bardot? (2008)