A Stake in the Earth

Jo: Stacey and I met again at ISEA 2015. It was not an easy journey for either of us to get there, but we both felt like it was important to represent our indigenous cultures and contribute to the conversation – in person.

So we got there – helped by the generosity of many!

The following is a conversation before leaving for ISEA that firmly puts a stake in the earth to say – yes – lets do this!

Tuturu whakamaua kia tina, tina, haumie hui e taiki e!

Kiaora Stacey,

This is to confirm that you and I have begun conversations about collaborating on an arts project together.

Having met you at SCANZ 2015 in Taranaki and shared many conversations about our cultures during that time, there was an immediate fascination and curiosity to want to learn more. I was interested in the differences in our cultures, but also the similarities.

As indigenous cultures what is it that brings us together? What is it that makes us different and how can we as indigenous people’s share our knowledge in a way that educates and informs others of our indigenous way of life? We talked about food (fascinating for me!), water (which is often snow or ice for you!) and language which is important – the revitalisation and the retention of our languages.

So both of us have been invited to ISEA 2015 which is one of the most prominent technology art events in the world. Having been a part of two ISEA in the past, I am well aware that there is a real lack of an indigenous voice at these conferences, so being there is important to share our stories, to create dialogue around the importance of indigenous knowledge not only for us as indigenous people, but for everyone around the world.

And since I am coming to your side of the world, I thought it was a good opportunity for you and I to get together over a couple of days to share conversation (over food!) about our collaborative project.

As an artist whose work is very much focused on the earth and the environment and looking after that for generations to come, it is important that I share my stories and my art with the world and I see this collaboration as an important pathway to sharing those stories. As a photographer and digital storyteller, I would love for that to be a medium that I share with others and knowing that you are a film-maker as well as many other things, I am really excited to see what will be created!

Mā te wā!

Arohanui,

Jo 🙂

Stacey: June, 23, 2015

Hi Jo!

I am so excited about the possibility of us collaborating on a project together. As an Inuk person coming from a culture with a very recent history of colonization, I often seek opportunities to learn from, share and work with other indigenous cultures.

During our time at SCANZ, we had opportunities to share ideas, stories and songs with each other, we also learned more about each others cultures and art practices. We agreed that it was only the beginning of something bigger that we could build on together.

Language and traditional tattooing (tuniit or ta moko), songs and stories are things that I am very interested in. Reclaiming, understanding roots, but also making it ours again even if it means breathing new life into old customs and ideas. I am not sure yet what our collaboration holds for us, but I know it will be exciting no matter what form it takes. I hope someday you can even come here to Nunavut, and as I got to experience your hot sun and water, you get to experience our moon and ice.

Before that however, we’ve both been invited to ISEA 2015, I’ve never been to such an event, but as an artist and filmmaker I am passionate about media and film and how it can play a role in education, voice and reflection. I know that you and I can contribute to that discussion and the overall success of ISEA.

Canada is a very large country, I’ve never even been to British Columbia, but I am excited about the opportunity to meet and see the work of the Indigenous community here in my own country as well as from around the world. I am also most excited about meeting you again there and further developing our conversations and ideas. I’ll bring some Inuksiut (Inuit soul food).

Ainn Jo!

Takulauqtugut (see you soon).

Stacey Aglok

Iqaluit, Nunavut

Canada

 

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