Symbols of Authenticity: Challenging the Static Imposition of Minority Identities through the Case Study of Contemporary Inuit Art

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Title: Symbols of Authenticity: Challenging the Static Imposition of Minority Identities through the Case Study of Contemporary Inuit Art
Authors: St-Onge, Colette G.
Date: 2012
Abstract: This thesis examines the use and promotion of shamanic themes in contemporary Canadian Inuit art, being the principle venue in which Inuit identity is presented to non-Inuit in Canada and internationally. The image of Inuit identity promoted through the arts since the mid-twentieth century is arguably the product of non-Inuit state authorities, but Inuit artists themselves are increasingly asserting their voice in their arts and crafts, thereby challenging the image of Inuit identity to non-Inuit. This project first problematizes the history of contemporary Inuit art, where the construction of Inuit identity was heavily prescribed, and then turns to the shifts occurring in Inuit art to highlight the process of identity construction and the agency of Inuit within it. In the process, this project challenges the static conceptualization of minority identities in diverse societies by both state authorities and majority populations. This dissertation contends that Inuit art and identity are fluid concepts and there must be an emphasis made to permit for their fluidity, to avoid affirming a static minority identity in a diverse society, whether in the public or state forums. Consequently, the effort to assert the authenticity of these intangible concepts is contrary to the ideals of diversity and equality promoted in Canada.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20491
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-5099
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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