Arctic artworks featured at Canadian auction

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Rabbit Eating Seaweed by Kenojuak Ashevak. Printmaker: Iyola Kingwatsiak. 1959. (Courtesy Walker’s Fine Art & Estate Auctions)
Mother and Child by Kiugak (Kiawak) Ashoona. (Courtesy Walker’s Fine Art & Estate Auctions )
Bird Spirit and Human Hand by Aron Kleist. 1970. (Courtesy Walker’s Fine Art & Estate Auctions)
Harpoon Counterweight. A.D. 100-300. (Courtesy Walker’s Fine Art & Estate Auctions)
Snow Goggles by unidentified Yup'ik artist. 1880. (Courtesy Walker’s Fine Art & Estate Auctions)
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)cbc.ca

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

 

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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 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 violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

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

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."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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