Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory: Winner of the 2021 Sobey Art Award
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, the winner of the 2021 Sobey Art Award, is best-known for her uaajeerneq performance. Uaajeerneq is a mask dance practised by Inuit in Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) that had a resurgence in the 1970s after having being banned by Christian missionaries who saw the practice as demonic. A storytelling tool for exploring human nature, the dance is also a powerful armation of Kalaallit identity. Uaajeerneq informs all aspects of Laakkuluk’s art. A through-line of the artist’s genre-defying practice is to encourage Inuit to see themselves. She pursues this goal through collaboration with others, stating, “Because of the legacy of colonization, we, as Indigenous people, don’t own our stories unless we tell them ourselves. Tell your stories.”
Speaking of the artist and her practice, the jury stated: “Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory provocatively transforms the framework of references for contemporary art. Williamson Bathory’s performance practice courageously defies preconceived notions through embodied lived experience. Her works invite us to share in a world abundant with possibility infused with the interconnections of land, family, community and cultural knowledge,“
The 2021 Sobey Art Award Exhibition, organized by the National Gallery of Canada and the Sobey Art Foundation, is on view at the National Gallery of Canada until 20 February 2022. Share this article and subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest articles, Gallery exhibitions, news and events, and to learn more about art in Canada.