THE ORIGIN OF DEATH
This exhibition features original prints created by Ulukhaktok artist Elsie Klengenberg. She was commissioned to create twenty prints illustrating the tale of Uvajuq, or the Origin of Death, which has traditionally been a story of great significance to Inuinnait of this region. The prints were made using an exacting stencil technique developed by the print-making co-operative in Ulukhaktok. The exhibit has travelled to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and Tokyo, Japan, and currently resides in the May Hakongak Cultural Centre.
According to the Uvajuq legend, Kiilliniq (Victoria Island) was once inhabited by a family of giants— Uvajuq, Amaaqtuq and their child—who struggled to survive and eventually starved to death. The legend explains how the bodies of Uvajuq and his family became a series of hills that are an unusual part of the typically flat landscape of Kiilliniq. The largest hill, formed by the father is known as Uvajuq. Over time, their bodies were covered by soil and rocks, and they remain evident today as the only hills for miles in the otherwise flat land. If you look carefully, you can still see some of their ribs showing through the hillsides. The complete legend of Uvajuq, along with Elsie’s prints, can be found in a book produced by the Kitikmeot Heritage Society.