Tumivut – Traces of Our Footsteps

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In 2001, in collaboration with the Royal Bank Group, Avataq organized a large-scale exhibition about Nunavik’s Inuit art and culture. Over 4,000 visitors attended TUMIVUT / Traces of our footsteps over a four-and-a-half month period. A travelling version of the exhibition was shown at the Quebec National Assembly as well as at the Centre de conservation de la biodiversité boréale in Saint-Félicien.

The title —TUMIVUT— Traces of Our Footsteps – takes its inspiration from a well-known legend in the Arctic. According to the legend, an Inuk named Atungaq decided one day to walk the world. Most Inuit today can tell you that there are traces of Atungaq’s journey still visible, deeply embedded in the rock. These footprints symbolize the mysterious link between the Inuit and their past, a patrimony rich with legend, experience and an intimate knowledge of the north.

The exhibition shed a new light on Nunavik and its environment. Visitors were able to immerse themselves in the contrasting landscapes and atmosphere that characterize the enormity of the territory. Many Inuit were actively involved with the conception of the exhibition, and it revealed many facets of Nunavimmiut heritage, serving as a testament to their ingenuity and practical sensibilities, as well as the recent adaptation they have made in order to maintain their culture.

Panoramic photos, authentic objects of material culture, art and artisanal works, legends, internet sites and interactive games – all combined to give visitors an extraordinary opportunity to expand their understanding of the art and culture of the astonishingly inventive people known as Inuit. Arctic wildlife, the mother/child relationship, family life, and traditional hunting and fishing were the dominant themes of the artworks featured in the exhibition.