Spotlight: Montreal, Canada exhibit focuses on art by Inuit women

Kenojuak Ashevak, Bird Among the Cairnes, 2012, lithograph, 57 x 76,5 cm. (Dorset Fine Arts)
Papaira Tukiki, Birds on A Wire, 2004, etching and aquatint on paper, 52 x 79,6 cm. (Dorset Fine Arts)
Lucy Quinnauyuaq, 1979-1980, coloured pencil and Pentel pen on paper, 50,8 x 66,2 cm. (Dorset Fine Arts)
Oviloo Tunnillie, Starting the Race, 2012, stone sculpture, 23 x 23 x 7 cm. (Dorset Fine Arts)
Lucy Quinnauyuaq, 1980-1981, coloured pencil and Pentel pen on paper, 50,8 x 66,2 cm. (Dorset Fine Arts)
A unique exhibit focusing on works by Inuit women is underway at a Montreal, Canada gallery this month.

Titled Inuit Women Artists, the exhibit at the Canadian Guild of Crafts showcases works by artists from the renknowned Inuit community of Cape Dorset.

The village is located in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut and famed for its printmakers and carvers.

Organizers of the exhibit hope it will offer a fresh look at the evolution of Arctic art.

“We wish to illustrate the transition from camp life to community-based culture,” said Diana Perera, the Inuit and First Nations art specialist at the Canadian Guild of Crafts.

“Secondly, it is very important I think to underline the importance of the visual arts in preserving collective memory and Inuit traditional knowledge, knowing well that few Inuit women have written about their artistic or historic selves.”

The exhibit represents three generations of artists, featuring everything from iconic works by Kenojuak Ashevak to contemporary-themed works by mid-career artists like Shuvinai Ashoona and Ningeokuluk Teevee.

Presenting works this way can help visors better understand  the evolution of both printing techniques and subject matter that moves from  traditional Inuit camp life to social issues and global warming.

“We wanted to have a narrative through art showing what was and what is today, ….” Perera said.  “The art today made by women is looking at the art not only from the inside out but I think (from) the outside in.”

The exhibit runs until March 28, 2015.

For more on the exhibit and how contemporary Inuit women artists are exploring modern themes, listen to Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn in conversation with Inuit art specialist Diana Perera:

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Feature Interview – The return of Inuit Art Quarterly, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Karelian art on show in Russia, Yle News

Finland: London gallery offers multimedia Sámi art, Yle News

Sweden:  Swedish Sámi visual artist shaping climate changes, Radio Sweden

United States:  Feature Interview – Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin, Eye on the Arctic



Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland and Alaska; along with the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *