Maureen Gruben (Inuvialuk)
Epson Hot Press Bright, ed./3
42.5″ x 120″
Every April, community members from Maureen Gruben’s hometown of Tuktoyatuk expertly pack family sleds with everything they need to live on the land and hitch them to Skidoos. They cross miles of frozen tundra to gather at Husky Lakes where they set up their canvas tents and off grid-cabins for the spring ice fishing season. On a sunny day in early spring, the landscape at Husky Lakes is both brilliant and minimal, consisting simply of a dazzling expanse of snow under vivid sky. An absolute silence that few people will encounter in their lives is punctuated with sociable chatting as friends and relations meet each other at fishing holes, and with the occasional buzz of augurs, the periodic approach and departure of the Skidoos. Sleds have always been an integral part of Inuvialuit life. Many contemporary sleds are still hand-built; no two are identical. Idiosyncrasies of carpentry techniques and rope knotting trace a material, deeply personal relationship to their makers, and these traces become more pronounced as the sleds are mended over the years to increase their life-span.
For Moving with joy across the ice while my face turns brown from the sun, Maureen borrowed fourteen of these hand-built sleds and brought them together into a short-duration land art installation that has been photographically documented.