EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 14, 2012

Addison draws attention to Innu exhibit with large banners

ANDOVER — The large banner hanging on the side of the Addison Gallery of American Art facing Route 28, which features a photo of a man embracing a younger member of his Innu tribe, is enough to grab your attention.

But it is words printed across the bottom that gets one thinking.

“If I were to tell you to forget everything you have ever been taught since birth, wouldn’t there be something missing in your life?”

There are 10 of these banners each featuring a different photo placed around the campus of Phillips Academy that bring attention to one of the Addison Gallery’s current exhibits “Pekupatikut Innuat Akunikana / Pictures Woke the People Up: An Innu Project with Wendy Ewald and Eric Gottesman.” The exhibit runs through Jan. 13 of next year.

This exhibition explores the culture of the Innu people of Labrador and the economic, social, and environmental challenges they have faced since their forced settlement in the 1960s through photography.

Allison Kemmerer, one of the curators at the gallery, said the banners are a way for people to learn about the Innu people.

Both artists are alumni of the former Abbot Academy and Phillips Academy. Abbot Academy was an all girls academy in Andover that merged with Phillips Academy in the 1970s.

The project began in 1969, when Ewald — who was 18 at the time and a recent graduate of Abbot Academy — traveled to the Innu reserve of Sheshatshiu in Labrador, Canada, to work with children who were adapting to the forced settlement of their community several years earlier.

Together with Ewald, the Innu children used Polaroid cameras to create a portrait of their changing community. Concerned by the continuing challenges faced by the Innu, Ewald along with Gottesman returned to Sheshatshiu in 2007 with Ewald’s pictures to engage in conversation about the issues still facing the community and embark on a series of new projects, according to

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