Posted • .earth This is my first Inuit wall hanging. I’ve been learning how to sew them from my great auntie, Elder Levinia Brown over Zoom for the past year and on my recent trip to my ancestral homeland of the area around Rankin Inlet, NU for the first time. I’ve had the privilege of learning this practice as a result of a Indigenous Arts Scholarship and Mentorship grant.
Sewing is an Inuit survival skill. Traditionally, all women needed to learn how to sew and all men needed to learn how to hunt before they were able to marry, each bringing these survival skills to their partnership. Of course there were two-spirited and gender diverse Inuit since time immemorial as well, but the teaching I received does not mention this dynamic.
This synthetic felt wall hanging is far from what my ancestors would have created for survival - parkas, amauti and kamiks were and still are a priority - but I am grateful to be carrying on the sewing tradition in my own way, beginning to use culturally relevant imagery to illustrate and tell stories in the style of my Auntie who has so generously shared her designs and techniques with me.
Image description: a multicoloured felt wallhanging design on a white background illustrating a yellow sun, two lavender snow geese, a wild rainbow or northern lights, blue ocean waves, a grey arctic char and signed by the artist in stitched Inuktitut syllabics