Story Tree Qavavau Manumie
Story Tree, 2020, ≅15'×15'∅ aluminium tree, acrylic paint, pine base with steel counterweight
on display at Canada Goose, Yorkdale Mall, Toronto, Canada
Canada Goose commissioned Story Tree for their flagship Toronto location. This piece was conceived as a meeting place, where North and South come together. Story Tree brings together Inuit artist Qavavau Manumie, known for his surreal drawings of arctic life and contemporary perspective on traditional Inuit knowledge and mythology, with Toronto-based Alex Fischer, whose subject matter spans Canadian landscape through abstract conceptual codes and speculations. The tree, a southern symbol of ancestry, knowledge and enduring strength grounds the piece in a familiar language. Story Tree’s limbs are in full bloom with whales, polar bear and arctic char flowering overhead. In nature, human, animal and plant life are in harmony only when we accept our interdependence.
Qavavau Manumie’s drawings are the seeds from which Story Tree has grown. Manumie’s work is idiosyncratic and often amusing in his depictions of Inuit legends and mythology, Arctic wildlife and contemporary aspects of Inuit life. It is through this lens of cultural wisdom and whimsy that Alex Fischer has interpreted Manumie’s drawings for Story Tree. Equally significant is the influence of Kenojouac Ashevak, and Inuit art forebears to Fischer’s practice of digitally collecting, collaging and redrawing a site-specific tribute with a presence of its own.
Through the simplest means of bi-fold asymmetry, Fischer has planted Manumie’s drawings in physical space. Story Tree brings together distinct Northern and Southern perspectives with the mind of the viewer as their integral subject.