Screening of Fish Plane, Heart Clock by Arvo Leo
Fish Plane, Heart Clock celebrates and responds to the work of the Inuit hunter-turned-artist Pudlo Pudlat (1916–92). For many years, Pudlat lived a traditional, seminomadic life on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. After a hunting injury, he moved to the settlement of Kinngait (Cape Dorset) where he began making drawings with materials provided by the newly established Kinngait Studios, the first Inuit printmaking program. Over the next 30 years, Pudlat would produce more than 4,000 drawings and paintings with graphite, felt markers, colored pencils, and acrylics — many of which have never been exhibited. Pudlat was part of the generation of Inuit in the late 1950s who were given pencils and paper and encouraged to 'draw their thoughts,' and was one of the first artists to move away from making images solely of traditional life. Upon the white page, hunters, igloos, seals, and walruses are often found mingling in the company of modern conveniences such as airplanes, telephone poles, automobiles, and clocks — things that were swiftly becoming commonplace in the north. Twenty-two years after Pudlat's death, Arvo Leo traveled to Kinngait to spend the spring living where Pudlat made his work.
In Fish Plane, Heart Clock, many images of Pudlat's drawings and paintings are collaged with imagery that Leo created during his time there. He portrays the daily life of a small town in seasonal transition while also subtly evoking the surreal and enigmatic energy that was intrinsic to Pudlat's art. Fish Plane, Heart Clock is foremost a lyrical celebration of Pudlat's work but it is also a realistic and magical realistic document of contemporary life in Kinngait. The film is an exquisite corpse whose body parts were discovered from research, fieldwork, and improvisation and sewn together with montage.