The Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit, NU, the Territory’s only museum, announced recently that Jessica Kotierk has been hired as the Manager and Curator. Kotierk takes on the role following a position as Projects Manager with the Nunavut Film Development Corporation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies from York University, a Diploma in Collection Management and Conservation from Fleming College and has also worked with the Inuit Heritage Trust, the Canadian Conversation Institute, Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Cerny Inuit Collection. She is a member the of Inuit Leadership group of Pilimmaksarniq/Pijariuqsarniq Project: Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Talent grant program grant led by Dr. Heather Igloliorte. Kotierk is currently the president of the Archives Council of Nunavut and has also brought her passion for history and archives to the Inuit Art Foundation where she has been advising on the IAF’s Archives since 2018. Her writing has also been featured in the Spring/Summer 2014, Winter 2017 and Summer 2019 issues of the Inuit Art Quarterly.
“I believe I know what a museum can do for a community and I think everyone can benefit from what we can do,” Kotierk explains over the telephone from Iqaluit. “Museum work is the type of work I enjoy doing and in this position I hope to connect artists with the public, organize and identify objects from the permanent collection and share information about Inuit, art and history.” Though she has only been in the role for just over a week, Kotierk is already thinking about big picture ideas about the role of the Museum in the Nunavut’s capital city, “I am excited to invite people to talk about and learn about Nunavut, about Inuit, about Iqaluit and about the Museum.”
“All of the members of the Board are excited have Jessica join the Museum,” expressed Jesse Tungilik, artist and Chair of the Board of Trustees. He revealed that, “it has been the goal of the Museum to attract a qualified Inuit Manager and Curator for some time, so we are extremely happy that Jessica has agreed to join the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum with us.”
The Nunatta Sunakkutaagit Museum was founded in 1969 in Iqaluit. At the time the organization, then called the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum Society, was the caretaker of a collection of art and artefacts collected across Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island) by the Territory’s arts and crafts officers. Though it presented temporary exhibitions, the museum did not have permanent exhibition space until 1976. In 1985, the Federal Government and the Government of the Northwest Territories funded major renovations to a Hudson’s Bay Company Warehouse donated to the museum in 1983, which has been the location of the Museum since.
The Nunatta Sunakkutaangit has a mandate to exhibit historical and contemporary art and artefacts drawn from its growing collection as well exhibitions of work by local artists. “2019 is the 50th anniversary of the organization, so I think it is an excellent opportunity to revitalize the museum and truly make a space that Inuit are proud to have in their community,” Tungilik explained. Though plans for the monumental anniversary celebration are under wraps, but Kotierk has hinted that “this summer we will be hosting events related to the anniversary and promoting the museum.”
Kotierk has been working with Inuit art and culture for many years and brings a wealth of experience and passion to her role. She assumed the new role March 25, 2019.