Arctic artworks featured at Canadian auction

The Walker’s Inuit and First Nations Art auction is known for its focus on Canadian art from the Far North.

But at their auction in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa on Wednesday, November 18, the lots put up include not only First Nations works but also a wide selection of carvings, prints and sculptures from a range of Arctic regions, including Alaska and Greenland.

"Inuit art is not a museum culture and it never was. Inuit certainly don't look it that way," says Ingo Hessel.
“Inuit art is not a museum culture and it never was. Inuit certainly don’t look it that way,” says Ingo Hessel.

“This is our biggest auction ever,” said Ingo Hessel, head of the Inuit and First Nations Art Department at Walker’s Fine Art & Estate Auctions.

“It includes not only great masterpieces of mostly contemporary Canadian Inuit art, but also historic First Nations art, most of it from the 19th century, ancient Alaskan art and artefacts up to 2000 years old  and Greenland works.”

Historic and contemporary works

Canadian highlights includes a 1959 print from renowned Canadian artist Kenojuak Ashevek titled “Rabbit Eating Seaweed.”

“Not only artistically, but historically, this is a very important work and we’re quite proud to have that as the centrepiece of the print collection in our auction this time around,” Hessel said.

Highlights from elsewhere in the North include small carved spirit figures from Greenland known as tupilaks and carvings from the Bering Sea region of Alaska.

Feature Interview
To find out more about the auction and the works featured from Canada, Greenland and Alaska, Eye on the Arctic spoke with Walker’s Ingo Hessel:

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Canadian Heritage minute spotlights Inuit artist, Radio Canada International

Finland:  London gallery offers multimedia Sámi art, Yle News

Greenland: Canadian artist explores Greenland’s past, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Karelian art on show in Russia, 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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