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

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 is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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