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Arnolfini - est 1961

Join The Association of the Unknown Shore to explore the story and legacy of Kalicho, Arnaq and their baby, Inuit abducted from Nunavut and brought to Bristol in the 16th Century. The association will unpack the narrative through a series of talks and artistic responses.

In October 1577, spectators followed the ‘strangers’ through the streets of Bristol to the Welsh Back. Kalicho took to the water in his kayak to hunt duck while Arnaq and her baby stood by the quay side.

These three Inuit where abducted from Nunavut by Martin Frobisher and his expedition. An Elizabethan attempt to find the Northwest Passage to China became one of the first attempts by England to colonise another land and extract its gold. For the Queen and God, Frobisher brought ‘human curiosities’, a unicorn horn, a kayak, and thousands of tons of Arctic ore to extract its gold. On their land he left a death toll, soured relations, names, miners marks, an English house, brass, and oak. By late November 1577, Kalicho and Arnaq had died and were buried at St Stephens Church, Bristol while Nutaaq died in London and was buried at St Olave’s Church.

The complex and entangled events, people and materials of this story continue to shape the lives of Inuit and non-Inuit around the world. The Association of the Unknown Shore calls this public meeting for all interested to attend. 

10:00 Welcome and open studio Association work-in-progress + Seal Skin Neck Pillow (Mark Igloliorte, 2018), ‘decolonizing regional and international air travel one nap at a time’

11:00 Angry Inuk (dir. Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, 2016)

12:30 Lunch Break

13:00 How We Breathe Coloniality, Mark Jackson (University of Bristol)

13.30 Replica Narwhal Tusk Casting

14:30 Bristol in 1577, a history walk with Evan Jones (University of Bristol) and Sue Giles & Lisa Graves (Bristol City Museum)

15:30 Water Remains: hydraphones, remote control ducks, trumpets, Kayle Brandon and Angela Piccini

16:00 Closing conversation 

The Association of the Unknown Shore is a growing group of Inuit, British, and Canadian curators, artists, museum & gallery professionals, members of St Stephens Church and university researchers.

We are critically and culturally responding to Martin Frobisher’s 16th-century voyages to Nunavut, in northern Canada. As part of our process we are working with various entangled, human and non-human threads to produce an in-progress work that acknowledges the legacy of the lives of the three Inuit brought to Bristol in 1577, lives that are entwined with the past, present and future of the city.

The Association of the Unknown Shore acknowledges the University of Bristol’s Brigstow Institute for providing the funding to make this work possible and all of the help, feedback, comments and critiques from individuals and organisations.