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Venice Biennale 2019

Canada announces first presentation of Inuit art for 2019 Venice Biennale

Video collective Isuma will tell story of indigenous culture in Canadian pavilion

Left to right: Norman Cohn, Pauloosie Qulitalik, Lizzie Qulitalik, Mary Qulitalik, Rachel Uyarashuk, Jonah Uyarashuk, Zacharias Kunuk, on the set of Nunaqpa (Going Inland, 1990). Isuma

Canada is the first out of the Venice Biennale blocks with its announcement that the artist collective Isuma will represent the country at the 58th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia in 2019 (May-November). Isuma is a video production company founded by Inuit artists, the indigenous people of the Canadian Arctic.

The group was co-founded in 1990 by Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn, Paul Apak Angilirq (1954-1998), and Pauloosie Qulitalik (1939-2012) “to preserve Inuit culture and language and to present Inuit stories to Inuit and non-Inuit audiences around the world”, a project statement says. Films produced by Isuma include Atanarjuat: the Fast Runner (2001) and The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006).

The collective was selected by a national committee of experts including Marc Mayer, the director and chief executive of the National Gallery of Canada, and the independent curator Candice Hopkins who is a citizen of Carcross Tagish First Nation in the Canadian territories. The project curator will be selected by the artists and will be announced in 2018.

Meanwhile, the British Council recently launched an open call for a curator to oversee the British Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale (the deadline was 3 December). According to the brief, “this opportunity gives a UK-based mid-career curator the chance to launch or enhance their international career and gain valuable experience working with a broad range of stakeholders and audiences.” The successful applicant will receive a fee of £10,000.