Conversation: Candice Hopkins and Natasha Ginwala

Candice Hopkins and Natasha Ginwala discuss the work of Arvo Leo and Pudlo Pudlat.

At its heart, this conversation is centered on encounters, from the artist Arvo Leo’s chance discovery of a book about one of the most prolific, yet 10 little known artists in Canada, to Pudlo Pudlat’s own drawings, over 4000 renderings that reveal the Arctic landscape as a site of transition, a region that from 1940s onward, was inundated with new technologies, new religion, and ideas that radically changed the way of life for those in the far north. Looking critically at the conditions of production, the conversation will provide a background on the development of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in the 1950s. In a place where paper currency was a relatively recent introduction, the program introduced art-making as a means to replace incomes lost after the collapse of the fur trade.

Collectively, Pudlat’s drawings reveal a cosmology. In them, fish pull airplanes, humans ride muskox, and seals have the ability to teleport to the sky. Arvo Leo’s encounters in Cape Dorset extend these readings of Pudlo’s world as drawings transfigure into a fresh interrogation of landforms, community practices and the rhythm of Inuktitut songs. By way of acoustically and visually engaging with scenes of daily life, human-animal relations and intricate contingencies of the Canadian Arctic in a time of ecological shift, Fish Plane, Heart Clock unravels an organic correspondence between the camera and the drawing.

Candice Hopkins and Natasha Ginwala


Candice Hopkins is Chief Curator at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts and has held curatorial positions at the National Gallery of Canada, the Western Front, and the Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre. She has lectured widely including at the Witte de With, Tate Modern, Artists Space, and the Dakar Biennale. In 2012 Hopkins presented a keynote lecture on the “sovereign imagination” for dOCUMENTA (13).

Natasha Ginwala is a curator, researcher, and writer. She was a member of the artistic team in the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (with Juan A. Gaitán) and curated The Museum of Rhythm at Taipei Biennial 2012 (with Anselm Franke). Ginwala has written on contemporary art and culture 11 in journals such as The Exhibitionist, e-fux journal, Ibraaz, Afterall and has contributed to numerous publications.