When Ice Stretched on for Miles
Gail E. Tremblay
Arts of the Americas
Throughout the Americas, Native people are fighting to save the forests, plants, animals, and fish runs because they can’t forget the way of seeing the world that our ancestors passed down to us. With the threat of global warming, I want people to think about the importance of the Arctic, how it supports life, and how the Native people who live there keep that life going. The exploitation of oil and fossil fuels is causing people to destroy the Earth, and the lack of balance is endangering life on the planet.
—Gail E. Tremblay, 2019
Instead of using traditional weaving materials such as strips of ash to make this basket, the artist Gail E. Tremblay combined strips of white film leader with exposed 16mm film from the 1967 documentary At the Winter Sea Ice Camp (see photograph). The documentary features a Netsilik Inuit family who reenacted scenes to accommodate the director’s ethnographic vision of earlier Inuit life; among other traditional activities, the family is shown traveling by dogsled, hunting, and building igloos. Tremblay’s basket points out the paradox of the documentary, in which an anthropologist—hailing from a culture that is in the business of modernizing the Arctic region and exploiting its oil and gas reserves—nevertheless idealizes traditional Inuit ways of life. The artist’s repurposing of the film enables her to gain control of a medium that historically has been used to perpetuate stereotypes about Native people.
16mm film, white film leader, gold and silver braided plastic thread
16 × 9 × 9 in. (40.6 × 22.9 × 22.9 cm) (show scale)
H. Randolph Lever Fund
Basket (a) and lid (b) woven out of 16 mm film from the 1967 documentary "At the Winter Sea Ice Camp."
This item is not on view
Gail E. Tremblay (Onondaga-Micmac, born 1945). When Ice Stretched on for Miles, 2017. 16mm film, white film leader, gold and silver braided plastic thread, 16 × 9 × 9 in. (40.6 × 22.9 × 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 2019.41a-b. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , 2019.41a-b_PS11.jpg)
overall, 2019.41a-b_PS11.jpg., 2019
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© Gail Tremblay
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