Celebrating 30 years of Inuit art: The Inuit Art Quarterly highlights works from the Art Bank collection

For three decades, the Inuit Art Quarterly has been introducing readers around the globe to the brightest and most promising artists the Inuit art world has to offer. As the only magazine devoted exclusively to Inuit and circumpolar Indigenous arts, it has been our great pleasure to share the beauty and vitality of Inuit cultural production both in print and online over the past 30 years. To mark this significant milestone, we have partnered with the Canada Council Art Bank to highlight a selection of works in their collection.

The Art Bank is the single largest collection of contemporary Canadian art, with more than 17,000 works including 600 works by more than 175 Inuit artists. Since its founding in 1972, the Art Bank has regularly acquired the work of Inuit artists and now counts some of the most prolific and celebrated artists, both historic and contemporary, amongst its collection including Kenojuak Ashevak, CC, ON, RCA (1927–2013), Pudlo Pudlat (1916–1992), Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016), Oviloo Tunnillie (1949–2014) and Joe Talirunili (ca. 1893–1976) among many others.

For this collection we have pulled together a small selection of pieces by artists working across the Arctic in numerous media and techniques to offer an introductory look at the breadth and depth of Inuit artistic practice. From our Fall 2017 cover artist, Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU-based Jessie Oonark, OC, RCA (1906–1985), we selected Kiviuk and the Grizzly (1981), a late linocut and stencil print that renders multiple narrative scenes in striking and delicate detail.

Jessie Oonark, Kiviuk and the Grizzly (1981), stencil

Similar narrative sensibilities are visible in graphics by Alootook Ipellie (1951–2007) Ben-Ho Wins the Biggest Race of his Life, Thumbs Down (2007) and Isaaci Etidloie (1972–2014) Untitled # 30 (Cape Dorset) (1976).

Alootook Ipellie, Ben-Ho Wins the Biggest Race of his Life, Thumbs Down (2007), ink on paper

Isaaci Etidloie, Untitled # 30 (Cape Dorset) (1976-77), felt pen and coloured pencil on paper

Sculpture in stone and bone is also well represented in the Art Bank collection, including works by Tukiki Manomie, Jaco Ishulutaq, Goota Ashoona and John Terriak.

Tukiki Manomie, Untitled/Sans titre (2010), soapstone

Jaco Ishulutaq, Mother and Child (1992), soapstone, ivory and antler

Goota Ashoona, Arctic Woman’s Tale (2009), beluga whale breast bone

John Terriak, Bird Island with Faces (2001), serpentine

Finally, our selection is rounded out by a sampling of textile works and photography by such notable figures as Annie Kilabuk (1932–2005), Irene Tiktalaaq Avaalaaqiaq and Jimmy Manning.

Annie Kilabuk, Walrus Hunting by Rowboat (1990-91), wool

Irene Avaalaaqiaq, Giant Fish Giving Birth to Humans (1992), felt on wool

Jimmy Manning, Gathering / Spring Fishing (1999-2000), photographs

We hope that you enjoy exploring this small sample of the hundreds of works under the care and stewardship of the Art Bank: IAQ Featured Collection. To explore these and other artists in our archive or to subscribe to the Inuit Art Quarterly, visit us at: iaq.inuitartfoundation.org

About the authors: Britt Gallpen and John Geoghegan

Britt Gallpen
is a writer and curator based in Toronto, Canada. Since 2015, she has been the Editor of the Inuit Art Quarterly. Britt has written catalogue texts for The Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre and grunt gallery, in addition to contributions to numerous publications including Canadian Art, esse art + opinions and Prefix Photo.

John Geoghegan is the Assistant Editor and Circulation Manager of the Inuit Art Quarterly. He has worked in collection management at several public museums and galleries including the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the city of Hamilton. Most recently, John contributed catalogue entries to the publication A Story of Canadian Art: As Told by the Hart House Art Collection.

Additional research assistance was provided by Monica Philpott, Editorial Assistant for the Inuit Art Quarterly.

The Inuit Art Quarterly is published by the Inuit Art Foundation. Established in 1987, the Inuit Art Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides support to Canada’s Inuit arts communities and is the sole national body mandated to promote Inuit artists and art within Canada and internationally.

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