Behind the Scenes of an Art Competition
In its early stages, it appeared that the competition would only be a slightly daunting communication exercise. As it turned out, it quickly morphed into a real saga, complete with manhunts (and womanhunts), chance encounters and numerous unexpected turns.
In spite of the numerous common characteristics shared by the Inuit of these various territories, there are a great deal of cultural traditions, regional dialects and even languages (Inuktitut and Inunnaqtun). English is the language of communication, but it is not their mother tongue and it is not equally mastered by all. Even the simplest of English words may not convey the same meaning. How then do we bridge the cognitive distance and the cultural and linguistic divide, and deal with the daunting geography?
The Architects’ response to these issues and challenges was to develop a guidebook for the 23 Inuit artists invited to participate in the competition. This document describes in both words and images the purpose of the Station, the architectural narrative and the link proposed between the Station, its architecture and the artworks to be integrated. It was sent to the artists along with drawing sheets with templates drawn to scale for each area of the building where 2D or 3D artworks would be integrated.
These areas are called “submittals”, thus referring to the various drawings that the artists may submit. Each “submittal” is located in a specific area of the building and corresponds to a distinct competition. Thus, there are many competitions within the larger art competition. The same approach applies to the 3D artwork, namely the sculpture.
This brief overview, while skimming over the surface, alludes to the process and roller coaster ride that led from the first discussions with the community elders, to the first contact with the artists, all the way up to the art installation in the building.
Jury from left to right:
Alain Fournier, EVOQ Architecture
Isabelle Laurier, EVOQ Architecture
Jacqueline Lalonde, INAC
Kayanna Brown, INAC
Pamela Gross, Ktikmeot Heritage Society
Crystal Qaumariaq, Polar Knowledge Canada