Arts

The Innu Project: Transforming Campus into a Gallery

The Banners

The 10 large vinyl banners on display throughout the campus are a continuation of the exhibit “Pekupatikut Innuat Akunikana/Pictures Woke the People Up: An Innu Project with Wendy Ewald (AA 69) and Eric Gottesman (PA 94)” at the Addison Gallery of American Art. The banners, installed last Friday, have transformed campus into a gallery space.

According to the Addison’s press release, Ewald initiated the project during a 1969 trip to Sheshatshiu, an Innu reserve in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where she saw the community undergo dramatic change when the Canadian government forced the Innu to resettle. Ewald was inspired to start a photographic archive of how the Innu people adapted to life on the reservation. She provided the local children with disposable cameras with which they could record their lives.

Returning to Labrador in 2007 with Gottesman, Ewald reengaged in the photography project with Innu teenagers, asking them to update the 1969 photographic depiction of the Innu community.

Originally hung only around Sheshatshiu, the photographs selected from the 1969 and 2007 collections of the Innu Project, which are blown up into large vinyl banners, have made their way to the Andover campus.

The banners’ touching images and handwritten messages provide viewers with the opportunity to gain insight into the Innu community.