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Imagining the Arctic

By Cynthia Culbert, Assistant Curator

In 2005, the Memorial Art Gallery received five stonecut prints by Inuit artists. The prints were part of the bequest of Isabel Herdle, former curator and assistant director of the Memorial Art Gallery for forty years.


Pudlo Pudlat, Fish Lake, 1966, Stonecut, Bequest of Isabel C. Herdle, 2005.68

They were simple, bold and striking. Our preparator said “we have some more of those – we should do a show.” So now, four years later, we’re doing a show. Art from the Arctic: Inuit Prints and Sculpture is on view now through February 14, 2010.

Eleven prints – even as stunning as these are – aren’t really enough to fill up MAG‘s Lockhart Gallery. I was okay with a sparse aesthetic that echoed the vast emptiness of the landscape in which the prints were created, but I decided to supplement the prints with some of the pieces from our considerably larger Inuit sculpture collection. By including the sculpture a fuller story of Inuit art could be told. Of course, curators always have a wish list of objects that are not yet in the collection – in this case, a few parkas with beautiful stitch work and skin appliqué so expertly sewed by Inuit women would have been wonderful to include. But that will have to wait for a future exhibition!


Comment from Marie Via
Time: December 7, 2009, 5:56 pm

Cindy —
Congratulations on a terrific exhibition — John King’s title wall makes me cold just looking at it! Isn’t it such a pleasure to see works from the collection that don’t go on view very often? It’s hard to pick a favorite work — Owl, Ravens and Dogs is great and so is Birds Conversing — but I have to say that Small Owl just makes me laugh every time I see him waving so cheerfully, so he’s probably the one I’d most like to take home with me.

Comment from Lu Harper
Time: December 8, 2009, 10:51 am

What impresses me is how early MAG started collecting Inuit art. Several of the works were acquired as early as 1955. The first co-operative on Baffin Island was created in 1959, the year of the first Cape Dorset print collection. Carving of course pre-dates printmaking, since it was a traditional art form among the Inuit. Hunter and Seal is a great example, acquired in 1957.

Comment from Jimmy Janowski
Time: April 8, 2010, 6:31 pm

Strange this post is totaly irrelevant to the search query I entered in google but it was listed on the first page. – Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. – Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790

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