For our 30th anniversary issue, the IAQ asked 15 leading figures in Inuit art to nominate an early-career artist to watch. In turn, those artists selected a senior talent who has inspired them. The result is “30 Artists to Know”, an expansive portfolio exploring the intergenerational, familial and community-based bonds that are made visible through art.
I met Lucy Tulugarjuk a while ago. She played the bad wife in Atanarjuat (2001), so she and I worked together on this film. She was also my first assistant on my film The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, in fall 2006. Lucy will be directing her first film this summer; she was asked by Marie-Hélèn Cousineau to be the director. This will be a children’s feature film about two young girls who meet and become friends. It is about having an opportunity to see and experience Inuit culture through these two girls. There are quite a few Inuit artists that I really like out there—I like all of them—but Lucy is really talented, and I would like to nominate her. – Zacharias Kunuk
Zacharias Kunuk, OC
I have a lot of people who have inspired my work, but I would say that Zacharias Kunuk has really been the central one. I was fifteen and in junior high school when Zach, Paul Apak Angilirq, Paulossie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn started Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. Before that he worked for the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) with Apak who did a short film on Inuit teenagers that was called Friday with teenagers (1989). That was my first experience in front of the camera; I was so nervous. Natar Ungalaaq was there too because he was working for IBC too. I had no idea that, somewhere in the future, I would be working with these three guys.
When I was asked by Zach about casting for Atanarjuat (2001), I had just started a new job two weeks before. Thankfully, I was told that I could definitely keep my job after filming, so I went for casting. We spent one week practicing and were given the choice of which character we would like to play. I picked the challenging one: Puja. As a director, Zach is pretty calm, even when it’s really busy and stressful. He knows what he wants and what the direction will be, yet he’s also open to suggestions, including those from the actors. I like that he is open to his crew. He never says when he’s tired because he’s already moving on to the next film. He’s always on the go. – Lucy Tulugarjuk
Zacharias Kunuk, OC
Kunuk is an award-winning producer and director. He is also the President and Co-founder of Igloolik Isuma Productions, Canada’s first independent Inuit production company. Kunuk has been featured numerous times in the Quarterly, beginning in 1991, and perhaps most notably on the cover of our 25th anniversary issue (26.1, Spring 2011).
These profiles appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.
30 Artists to Know Feature