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Indepth Arts News:

"Holman: Forty Years of Graphic Art"
2001-03-22 until 2001-08-19
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, MB, CA Canada

This collaborative exhibition between Itsarnittakarvik: Inuit Heritage Centre in Baker Lake, Nunavut, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, grew out of a desire to create an alternative model for understanding contemporary Inuit art-one that would be in keeping with the post-colonial climate of Nunavut. Working with the Baker Lake sculptures in the Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the carvers were asked to examine and reflect upon the values, ethics, and aesthetics that guide their creative process and to apply this understanding to the selection process for the exhibition.

The carvers articulated rigorous aesthetic standards and expressed admiration for accomplished works that showed originality, novelty, and a distinct personal style-echoing elements that contribute to our understanding of great art as produced over the ages. They spoke freely of the aesthetic and ethnographic considerations and restraints placed on their artistic production by a dominant white culture and their efforts to produce thoughtful, meaningful work within a cross-cultural environment. While Baker Lake has emerged into a modern community, many traditional practices and values endure. These impact how art is valued and the artistNULLs role in contemporary Inuit society.

The premise of the exhibition was not only to reconnect the artists with some of their earliest sculptures but also to have them define the ideological framework within which that work was produced. The pieces they selected, and the accompanying statements, are a reflection of these thoughts, presented from their point of view. The result is an exhibition that presents NULLart by InuitNULL as a self-defined 20th century hybrid art form, intensely poignant and rich.

This is the first major exhibition of visual art to be organized by Inuit. It also marks the first time that an exhibition organized by a northern institution tours to art institutions in southern Canada. This exhibition is made possible through a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.


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