On the doorstep of National Gallery, the foyer of Canada House in London’s Trafalgar Square provides a showcase of contemporary drawings, paintings and small sculpture by Inuit artists.
Inuit Art at Canada House
Sponsored by TD Bank and Canada House, this cosy exhibition offers a wide view of Inuit contemporary art which in this collection, featuring deceptively simple drawings and sculptures that require many minutes of study to reveal their depth. The first large drawing in the show is Pitsiulak’s “Ancient Aqviqs”; after a good 20 minutes of touching up in Photoshop is only when I realised that it is more than just a couple of whales.
One might expect images of Mother Earth or mythological creatures, but none are found in this exhibition. Instead we see traditional-type green stone sculptures with reference to the here-and-now, as in Qirmpik’s rendering of an Inuit man holding a burning cigarette and rocking out with his iPod.
Another drawing by Shuvinai Ashoona and John Noestheden shows an Inuit trio greeting the viewer with friendly waves, a drawing which could easily be read as a space family on some strange planet’s surface. The drawing is enhanced with Swarovski crystals, further promoting the idea of the extraterrestrial family on our eighth planet (in a Neptunian weather system, it apparently rains diamonds). Or the sparkle could simply imply snow.
A look at the works presented in “Inuit Ullumi” was a 15 minutes well spent; before today, I have not had the opportunity to consider contemporary Inuit art. I quite agree with the blurb posted on the wall that art from far- North Canada “…has long been a fascinating window into a remote and culturally complex place…” Well worth a visit to Canada House to see some fresh contemporary art that departs from Western European vision.
- More about ‘Inuit Ullumi’ exhibition on the Canada House website.
- Northern Scene website provides an overview of ‘Inuit Ullumi‘ “Inuit Ullumi might surprise you in its diversity and unpredictability.”
Exhibition details: ‘Inuit Ullumi – Inuit Today’ is presented in the ground floor foyer of Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N from 14 June – 30 September 2013. Free entry (Note: there is a mandatory security check at the entrance).
Featured artists: Shuvinai Ashoona, Isaci Etidloie, John Noestheden, Tim Pitsiulak, Annie Pootoogook, Itee Pootoogook, Pitseolak Qimirpik, Ningeokuluk Teevee, Sam Toonoo