TUKTUUYAQTUUQ (Caribou Crossing)

The pandemic has not been kind to galleries, venues and artists of all stripes. The staff at UVic’s Legacy Art Galleries have definitely felt it. But now, with a safety plan in place, you can again visit Legacy Downtown, and see Inuvialuk artist (and UVic alum) Maureen Gruben’s stunning exhibition—TUKTUUYAQTUUQ.

Tuktuuyaqtuuq’ is the Inuvialuktun name of Maureen’s home on the Arctic coast (known in English as ‘Tuktoyaktuk’.) It means ‘looks like a caribou.’ The tuktu/caribou are integral to Inuvialuit life. They provide food, clothes, tools and stories.

In TUKTUUYAQTUUQ, Maureen works with multiple facets of the animal: the translucent heart sac, the intricate patterning of bone seams on skulls that are reminiscent of waterways curving through the land. In her careful attention to life-sustaining physical elements, Maureen also traces the caribou’s vast immaterial presence in her culture.

If you can’t make it to the gallery, or would rather visit virtually, check out the gallery site or this video tour hosted by writer and photographer Kyra Kordoski.

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