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The Darkroom Project: Taloyoak, 1972–1973

January 18 — February 26 2017
Student Gallery, Ryerson Image Centre

Co-instructed by Gaëlle Morel and Sophie Hackett

In 1972, American-Canadian photographer Pamela Harris first visited Taloyoak, Nunavut (then Spence Bay, Northwest Territories), and started to conceive of a space where the community could develop film and print photographs without the help of distant photo labs. What came to be known as The Darkroom Project did not introduce the people of Taloyoak to photography, but as Harris noted: “Since they already had it, they should also have power over it, the power that comes from being able to do things oneself.” During her second visit to Taloyoak the following year, Harris secured the necessary materials and with the help of several members of the community, including Selena Tucktoo, Theresa Quaqjuaq and Ootookee (Tookie) Takolik, built a darkroom in the local women’s craft workshop.

Divided in three sections, The Darkroom Project presents works by these four photographers along with archival documents and correspondence, selected from a collection now at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibition intends to provide a counter-narrative on the photographic representation of Indigenous peoples, Inuit women in particular. The gallery’s west wall offers a dialogue between photographs that raises questions about shared subjects and aesthetics, revealing instances of daily life in Taloyoak. On the east wall, one section focuses on The Darkroom Project, its origins and outputs, while the other section, titled The Spence Bay Project, presents an exhibition produced by Tucktoo, Quaqjuaq, and Takolik during the Arctic Women’s Workshop held in Toronto in 1974.

As a group of non-Indigenous students, we remain aware that the dominant view of the North has historically been defined by the South. We have thus aimed to privilege the perspective of the Inuit participants in The Darkroom Project wherever possible. We are grateful to Pamela Harris, Selena Tucktoo, James Eetoolik, Katherine Minich and the Toronto Inuit Association for their insight and expertise as we prepared this project.

The exhibition, accompanying publication and digital project were created by the second year Masters students in the Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management Program, School of Image Arts, Ryerson University.




Event(s):

Opening Party
Wednesday, January 18
6:00–8:00 PM

Exhibition Talk
Katherine Minich in conversation with Alex Robichaud
Wednesday, February 8
6:30 PM

Co-organized with

With generous support from

Fig. 1

Cover of the publication that accompanied the exhibition

A woman standing in a darkroom
Fig. 2

Pamela Harris, Selena Tucktoo in darkroom, Taloyoak, 1973, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Randall McLeod, 2012 © Pamela Harris

Installation Shots

A wall in a gallery full of framed photographs
Fig. 1

The Darkroom Project: Taloyoak, 1972–1973 (installation view), 2017 © James Morley, Ryerson Image Centre

A wall in a gallery full of framed photographs
Fig. 2

The Darkroom Project: Taloyoak, 1972–1973 (installation view), 2017 © James Morley, Ryerson Image Centre

A photo of a magazine in a case in the gallery
Fig. 3

The Darkroom Project: Taloyoak, 1972–1973 (installation view), 2017 © James Morley, Ryerson Image Centre

Sponsors

Co-organized with

With generous support from