THE REBEL – Jutai Toonoo

Artists often say they create art for themselves and don’t care what other people think. But when Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn tracked down Jutai Toonoo working in Nunavut’s Kinngait Studios in 2010, we got the sense that he really, really meant it.

Toonoo used human imagery to explore identity issues and cultural conflict in the North for much of his career.

But at the time of his sudden death in 2015, he’d begun exploring more personal themes in his work, like cancer, a disease that had begun to ravage friends and family members.

Many experts say he produced some of the most provocative contemporary artwork to ever come out of the Arctic.

But as for all the rest, there’s no better person to tell you about it than Jutai Toonoo himself.


Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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