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Foodland Security Exhibition: Urban Inuit Access to “Country Foods”

June 30, 2013

Above: Emily Yu, student curator, poses beside one of Pottle’s Foodland Security photographs.

by Emily Yu, Student Curator, UW Undergrad
Foodland Security, a photography exhibit by Inuk artist, Barry Pottle from Canada’s Nunatsiavut, was on display in the Allen Library through the month of May.

The exhibit included 15 images or photographs including images of food from the community freezer, the preparation of food, cutting caribou, preparing Arctic char. “Still Life” features a piece of char and muktaaq or whale meat. “After the Cut” includes two Inuit cutting knives – the ulu – and a scarp of caribou meat on cardboard. “Muktaaq” illustrates the natural design of the meat. “I wanted to capture elements of the food we eat as Inuit in southern Canada,” says Pottle, “and the way we have adapted to our environment and life.”In May, the U.W. was honored to host the exhibition, Foodland Security, by Inuit photograher, Barry Pottle. Foodland Security is about the challenge of Inuit in urban settings to gain access to “country food” or food from the land. Pottle’s work focuses primarily on the Inuit community in Ottawa including cultural activities and images that reflect Inuit identity. His goal is to explore the robust Inuit community in Ottawa and to highlight its richness and vibrancy.

I have been extremely privileged to be an intern for the Foodland Security exhibition. I have been in the fortunate position of being able to meet and communicate with the people integral to the success of the exhibit. Every one of them led me to think of the exhibition from a different perspective – Barry Pottle provided the core of the exhibit, Nadine Fabbi gave me direction and focus, the U.W. Allen Library staff helped me think of the logistics and setup of the exhibition. Even the people who stopped to talk to me about the exhibit as they were passing by the Allen Lobby provided me with a new understanding of the whole process. This has not only given me many important experiences outside of a classroom setting, but has also nurtured my ability to look at things from a different, bigger perspective, something I have no doubt will be valuable in the future.

Viewing a photo exhibition from the inside has allowed me to appreciate the amount of thought and effort that goes into every step of the process. Every single detail, from choosing a font and layout for the image descriptions to confirming the dimensions of a shipped package, needs to be considered and planned out in advance. Not only must these factors be well thought out, but there also needs to be efficient and clear communication about them to every person involved in the process.

Barry Pottle is an Ottawa-based photographer originally from the Inuit region of Nunatsiavut, Labrador (Rigolet). He has a BA in Aboriginal Studies from Carleton University. Pottle uses photography to give focus to issues currently facing Inuit.

Emily Yu , student curator for Foodland Security, is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington. She is interested in pursuing a career in the fields of Art and Psychology.

The Foodland Security exhibition was made possible by funding from the Canadian Studies Center’s Title VI grant allocation from the Office of Postsecondary Education, International Education Program Services, U.S. Department of Education; a Fund for the Arts Grant from the Association of Canadian Studies in the United States; the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium; the UW Native Organization of Indigenous Scholars; the UW Libraries; the Ontario Arts Council; and, the Future of Ice Initiative.

Exhibit poster
Exhibit brochure page 1 & page 2