EXPRESSIONS OF FAMILY IN INUIT SCULPTURE
Saturday, March 24, 2007 - Friday, April 6, 2007
Please click on above image to view the entire collection.
To say that the family is an essential element of life is a cliche. But cliches have a way of expressing a fundamental reality of
the world in which we live. And the works that we have assembled for this exhibition refute any such concept, as each and every one of them is a unique expression of an individual vision.
In all cultures interpretations of family life are one of the most important aspects of binding the family and the larger community together. It is particularly the case within the world of the Inuit. In the traditional environment, small and close-knit groups were the way of life. Constantly on the alert for the far too frequently scarce resources the land offered them, it was only by working together as a family that survival was possible. The father taught the son the ways of the hunt so that the next generation could be fed. The mother taught the daughter how to sew the clothes that protected them and to prepare the food that nourished them. Close bonds with mothers is the norm, as in the traditional world she would carry the child relatively well past the infant stage as otherwise he or she simply could not keep up with the pace of travels, essentially on foot. On a lighter note, Inuit parents were, and still are, particularly indulgent to their children. The realizations that all too soon the harsh realities of living in the Arctic desert would manifest
themselves tempered the need to scold and discipline boisterous children.
As always, it has been a great pleasure to assemble this collection of works. The addition of a newborn to the Inuit Gallery family last May has heightened our appreciation of this timeless theme. The monumentality of the central role of the mother is perhaps best exemplified by the massive creation of Tuna Iquliq of Baker Lake, which, despite its size, is an intimate portrait. The linkage between mother and child is expressed in Robert Hallauk's creation of a beaded hanging reminiscent of his mother's own creations. Father and son links are illustrated by the sensitive carving of Paul Malliki as well as the sledding scene by Jonah Ishulutaq. In addition, we have the work of Mary Yuusipik Singaqti. The game she depicts is not mere fun. It is a way of training the child to have quick responses which are essential to survival in an environment that guards its resources jealously. Joyous examples are to be found in the
many carvings depicting the wildlife and their offspring as well. Joanasie Manning's owl and chicks being one case. We have bears with their cubs and walrus with their pups. All reminders of the timeless importance of family.
We invite you to share in the joy and pleasure of Essential Family.
Please click here to view the entire collection