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For her multi-part installation Perdre et retrouver le Nord Marie-Hélène Cousineau was inspired by portraits and snapshots found in the famous Black Star Collection (Ryerson University, Toronto), which were taken by German-born photojournalist Peter Thomas in the Canadian North during the 1960s.  Bringing copies of these images with her back to the North, Marie-Hélène met with the Inuit community of Baker Lake, finding the individuals who had been photographed 50 years earlier. In turn, the artist’s photographs of the adults holding their images as children are deeply moving and engaging on multiple levels.
Responding to her own experiences of living for many years in Igloolik, Nunavut, Marie-Hélène also worked with Susan Avingaq and other friends to evoke Northern history and landscapes. Through recounted stories, film, sound, and pictures we glimpse fragments of a world of which we know too little.
The installation is comprised of 7 black-and-white photographs from the Black Star Collection, 8 colour photographs by Marie-Hélène Cousineau, a vitrine containing three doll houses and other hand-made objects representing life during three eras of living in the North, a digital film loop and a composed sound track.” – Doina Popescu

Marie-Hélène Cousineau was born in Montréal, Canada. In 1990, she went to Igloolik, Nunavut, where she was integral to the development of women’s video. In 1991, she founded the Tarriaksuk Video Centre with Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, and with Mary Kunuk and Madeline Ivalu, she established Arnait Video Productions, with whom she continues to produce and direct video works.
Perdre et retrouver le Nord was first produced for Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection at the Ryerson Image Centre, Ryerson University, Toronto, curated by Doina Popescu and Peggy Gale.
The exhibition at the Marshall McLuhan Salon is curated by Doina Popescu, Director of the Ryerson Image Centre, and co-presented with the Embassy of Canada in Berlin and Ryerson University.

photographs, video, doll houses, sound
dollhouses by:
Susan Avingaq, Mary Qulitalik, Rebecca Malliki
camera on 360 degree pan of landscape: Etienne Boilard
music: David Ertel

The artist would like to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for their support in making the initial installation possible.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur