Cultural Radiation: Arnaagama. I am an Inuk woman. Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory

January 8–27, 2018

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, Cultural Radiation: Arnaagama. I am an Inuk woman., 2017.
Digital image printed on acrylic billboard, 72in x 108in.
Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid. Courtesy the artist.

For each exhibition, the Blackwood Gallery presents an artwork in the Bernie Miller Lightbox, a billboard-sized (108" x 72") venue installed on the outside of the William Davis Building where the two wings of the building meet at the end of the "Five Minute Walk".

This billboard is commissioned for #callresponse, an exhibition co-organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield, and Tania Willard. #callresponse supports the work of Indigenous women from across Turtle Island through art commissions that drive dialogue and mobilize action on the topic of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

#callresponse is presented as part of Take Care. Encompassing a five-part exhibition series, performances, and workshops, Take Care mobilizes more than 100 artists, activists, curators, and researchers confronting the crisis of care. Curated by Letters & Handshakes, Take Care unfolds as a series of five exhibition themes, or circuits of care:

Labour of Curation, September 11–30, 2017
Care Work, October 16–November 4, 2017
Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Mutual Aid, November 20–December 9, 2017
Stewardship, January 8–27, 2018
Collective Welfare, February 12–March 10, 2018

Project Description

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory is a second-generation uaajerneq performer. She was taught the Greenlandic mask dance by her mother, Karla Jessen Williamson. Uaajerneq involves a wild array of expressions that play with fear, humour, and sexuality. The black face paint is a symbol of human insignificance in the enormity of the universe, portraying awe and humility. Red is a symbol of the vagina, and the foam balls held in the cheeks elicit male sex organs, embracing a multiple and fluid gender identity that is culturally situated. Williamson Bathory uses the dance as a strategy to prepare her community—the Inuit of Nunavut—to face difficult questions around governance and extremes of life in the North through creativity. In this way, uaajeerneq is a story linking past, present, and future. She states, “As Indigenous people, we don’t own our stories unless we tell them ourselves because of the legacy of colonization. ... Stories have been ripped out of us in so many ways and unless we tell our stories, they are not ours.”

Artist Biography

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory is a performer of uaajeerneq, a contemporary Greenlandic mask dance, and a recognized storyteller, poet, and actor. She is Inuk of Greenlandic origin, living in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Laakkuluk is a founding member and Programme Manager at Qaggiavuut, a non-profit society advocating for and supporting Nunavut performing artists.


#callresponse is co-organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard. We acknowledge the politics of violence in North America as it relates to Indigenous lands and bodies including on the many Indigenous territories where the projects take place, whether they are ancestral, traditional, unceded, unsurrendered, urban, rural and/or reserve.

#callresponse, Blackwood Gallery, and Letters & Handshakes extend deepest thanks to all the participating artists, respondents, and the networks that support the important work they undertake at all levels. Thank you also to those who have led and participated in the programming around the exhibition.

The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.

#callresponse is produced in partnership with grunt gallery and generously supported by the {Re}conciliation initiative of the Canada Council for the Arts, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Additional funding support from the British Columbia Arts Council.

The Blackwood Gallery is grateful for the generous support of #callresponse from the Jackman Humanities Institute Artist-in-Residence Program, the BC Arts Council, and grunt gallery, with additional support from the Department of Visual Studies and Women and Gender Studies (UTM).

Funding for staff support was made possible through the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations Graduate Internship program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Museums Association administers the program on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage.