Artful Musing

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Inuit art you can bank on at the NAC

Big banks have taken a beating recently for importing foreign workers to steal the jobs of Canadians. So, for a change of pace, let me say something positive about one of those big banks: TD Bank Group.

The bank we once knew as Toronto-Dominion began acquiring artwork in the 1960s. In 1967, Canada’s Centennial, the bank started collecting Inuit art. Thankfully, the bank is still collecting and you can see some of its recent star acquisitions in the ground floor lobby of the National Arts Centre in an exhibition titled Inuit Ullumi: Inuit Today.

The exhibition is part of the NAC’s Northern Scene, which officially continues from April 25 to May 4, although many of the art shows associated with this multi-venue extravaganza are already running and will continue after the festival officially ends.

Face Transforming and Singing, by Annie Pootoogook

The TD show truly gives us Inuit art of “today.” There is a mixture of sculptures and drawings, but these are not your traditional scenes of hunters, mothers, and mythological creatures. Instead, we see a stone sculpture of a young man listening to his MP3 player and very realistic looking domestic scenes from the likes of Ottawa-based Annie Pootoogook and the very “in” Dorset-based artist Shuvinai Ashoona.

Many of the artists in the TD show are also part of the far larger and more spectacular exhibition called Dorset Seen at Carleton University Art Gallery. Participating artists include the aforementioned Pootoogook and Ashoona, plus such other Inuit art stars as Tim Pitsiulak and Ovilu Tunnillie. (more…)