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Arctic Wind II: a continuing exploration 2009

Opens May 23, 2009


Our journey continues from last year's Arctic Wind exhibition as Arctic Wind II expands the scope of Coastal Peoples' Inuit collection.  As our own exploration evolves, a broadening of works from the Keewatin region – communities in Nunavut such as Baker Lake, Rankin Inlet and Arviat – have been incorporated into the mix.

Highly distinctive and richly varied in style and subject matter, Inuit sculpture cannot be categorized into one honogeneous group.  With styles varying from decorative to minimalist, and from brutal expressionism to surrealist whimsy, the artist's personal mark is always an important measure of their talent and forte.

Inuit sculptors progress and continuously innovate so the art form will not stagnate. New materials, working methods and attitudes may have changed for some artists and, as individual artists' styles transition over time, even staunch traditionalists can branch out in new directions.

Through experimentation, artists can articulate their emotional range with superb technical execution to produce works that reach beyond the possible.  Many devote themselves to pure aesthetics and have a taste for what may be considered unfamiliar or unusual.

Regional borders seldom restrict individual styles as realism is practiced throughout each area.  Although Keewatin is known for abstraction or simplification, these can appear in Cape Dorset sculptures.  Arviat possesses the least naturalistic style, and  is considered very distinctive and rugged.  For Rankin Inlet, their themes surround human relationships and hunting animals that are stark, sometimes crude, or more direct and energetic. More widely recognized, Cape Dorset is typically ambitious and based primarily on naturalism where carvers are proud of their signature styles as visibly demonstrated within this exhibition.

Acclaimed artist Pitsiulak Qimirpik from Iqaluit on Baffin Island clearly illustrates in his 'Eagle and Salmon' a personal style for fine sculptural detail and realism.  While his counterpart Barnabus Arnasungaaq expresses sentimentality in his 'Mother and Child ' through sparse abstract forms, and yet proves to be realistic in conception.  The pent up energy in his 'Musk Ox' offers a powerful and dynamic presence to its bulky shape – typical of the Baker Lake region.

An exceptionally delightful sculpture is Simeonie Hakuluk's 'The Lady Making Tea', which offers a glimpse into everyday family life in Rankin Inlet.  In contrast, the modernistic Toonoo Sharky creates progressive pieces that push the boundaries of the Cape Dorset style and influences.

In this exhibition, every sculpture has been carefully selected to best demonstrate each regional style and the artist's own evolutionary journey.  We welcome you to experience and enjoy it in person or online.

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