16 november 2012

Eye on the Arctic – The art legacy in Canada’s North


Photo: Eilís Quinn
Ulukhaktok (Holman) in Canada's Northwest Territories.

When people think of Inuit Art in Canada, it’s usually the famous artistic communities in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut that come to mind.

Cape Dorset, Nunavut is known worldwide for its print collection. Pangnirtung, Nunavut is known for its weavers.

Though several Arctic Canadian communities had active art programs, many of them have petered out over time.  But experts say the remaining works still play an important role in our understanding of Canadian art and Arctic culture.
Ulukhaktok, located in the High Arctic in Canada’s Northwest Territories and formerly known as Holman, is one such community.

A Catholic missionary named  Father Henri Tardy started the print and drawing program and founded the Holman Eskimo Co-operative in the 1960s.

The program produced renowned artists like Mark Emerak and Helen Kalvak.

But by 2000, the annual print collection was discontinued.  Earlier this year, RCI’s Eye on the Arctic produced a special report on how one artist in the community was hoping to restart the famed program.

Related Links:

Holman: Forty years of Graphic Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery

Is the Holman print program worth saving?, Eye on the Arctic

Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn has more on the importance of such collections with Darlene Coward Wight, the Curator of Inuit Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
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