Shifting Geographies: Inuit Art from the University of Alberta Art Collection includes an online virtual exhibition and films that presents a range of Inuit artworks that includes two sections on the built environment of the Arctic. These works consider both traditional and contemporary dwellings. In the Arctic, these were always seasonal – skin tents and qarmaqs, shelters with stone, in the summer and igloos in the winter. The works in Shifting Geographies ᐊᓯᔾᔨᕐᓂᖏᑦ ᓄᓇᖏᑦ show how knowledge and skills have been passed on and transformed from one generation to the next. The presentation online and collection of these works also say much about ‘southern’, metropolitan cultural acquisitiveness and our fascination with the exotic. Its says much about the moment too: CoVid-19. Oddly for a university-based collection, where the virtual exhibition and the museum’s web materials in general, fall short is that they don’t list the artists or works, making it difficult to follow up on what one has seen. Once exhibitions are finished, there is no online catalogue of works that preserves the exhibition and documents the curatorial work.
-Rob Shields (University of Alberta)