Photo credit: Lee Narraway.
Jesse Tungilik is an Inuit interdisciplinary artist based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. He is primarily interested in conceptual sculpture blending traditional and contemporary materials and themes that explore social and political issues faced by Inuit today. He started his artistic journey as a ceramicist at the Matchbox Gallery in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut at 8 years old and had his first public show of his artwork at a bank lobby in Yellowknife when he was around 11 years old. He has also worked as a jewellery artist under the mentorship of Mathew Nuqingaq at the Aayuraa Studio in Iqaluit.
Jesse spent much of his young adulthood in the civil service working for the newly formed Government of Nunavut where he became an arts administrator eventually becoming the Manager of Cultural Industries for the Government of Nunavut and then the Executive Director of the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association. He currently is chair of the board of trustees of the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit and member of the Inuit Leadership Group of the SSHRC grant funded Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Project.
Many of his conceptual sculptures of late have been inspired by and explore the intersection of government policy and legislation and their adverse impacts on Inuit culture and language, as well as the continued colonization and assimilation of the Inuit into the Canadian body politic. He draws from his experience in government, and from the intergenerational trauma inherited by his father who was an outspoken Residential School survivor to create his art partly as a means to facilitate his own healing and to reconcile his frustrations from working from within and working against government agencies throughout his life.
As Artist-in-Residence at Concordia he will continue his artistic practice focusing on contemporary and conceptual sculpture and design. He has a number of creative projects that he is very excited to pursue while in Montreal.