INUIT SCULPTURE FROM NUNAVUT, CANADA
From February 9, 2006 to March 17, 2006, The Harrison Gallery will present an exhibition of stone sculptures from various Inuit artists of the North Canadian province of Nunavut. There will be a gallery talk and reception with Inuit sculpture specialist Marc Schepens of the Pucker Gallery on Sunday February 19, at 1 pm. The public is invited to join us for this very special event.
The show features the work of two major stone carving enclaves on the Hudson Bay: the smooth-surfaced, lively animals and drummers of South Baffin Island on the northeast bank of the Bay, and the spiritual, abstracted characters of the Keewatin Region on northwest side of the Bay. Among the carvings presented from two regions are the works of major Inuit carving families, including Segova pieces from Baker Lake and Michael sculpture from Lake Harbor.
The Harrison Gallery’s Inuit selection highlights the color and material variety of Nunavut stone. During the last one hundred years of Inuit sculpture, increasing demand for this sculpture has accelerated the process of the expiration of the most traditional varieties of North Canadian carving stone. The Harrison Gallery will exhibit pieces that both revere their subjects—animals, drummers, mother and child pairs, spiritual figures—and honor the physicality of the stone itself. This selection of figures is carved from serpentine, soapstone, basalt and granite, stones whose unique appearances and levels of receptiveness to carving tools fortify the expressiveness of the characters they render.
Most of the artists engage in some form of direct stone carving, which involves an assortment of hand-held and power tools alike. The process of working the stone is highly stylized, however, and different artists are partial to particular tools and types of stone. Individuals often develop a preference and a selection of tools that enables them to work with a particular kind of stone. The acquisition of the stone can be costly, even dangerous. As Toona Iqulik of the Keewatin region recounts of his stone collection, “Some of the stone…is so hard to get. With the river and falls, the stone is buried in ice.”