Tag Archives: ivory

Adopt an Object: Journey to Summer Camp

17 Feb
Romeo Eekerkik - Journey to Summer Camp edited

This piece “Journey to Summer Camp” by Romeo Eekerkik is part of the MIA’s new Adopt an Object fundraising initiative.

As part of  the MIA’s new fundraising initiative ‘Adopt an Object’, we’ll be highlighting a featured item from our Permanent Collection that staff have chosen to represent some of  the unique pieces we display in the museum. For more information on the program itself and what it means to be a donor, you can check out our past blog post.

Today, we’re highlighting a staff favourite – Romeo Eekerkik’s “Journey to Summer Camp”

Artist: Romeo Eekerkik (1923 – 1983)
Location: Arviat
Date: c. 1970s
Medium: Antler
Dimensions (H x W x D): 6” x 16” x 8”
Collection: Sprott/MIACollection

Significance: This piece is a great example of how artists in the Kivalliq Region use caribou antler, a material in great supply in this area, in a skillful way. Romeo takes advantage of all the properties of the medium in this piece, pushing it farther than most other artists. While most antler sculptures usually depict figures that are tall and skinny, here he uses the antler temporally, depicting a physical journey in space. He shifts the antler horizontally to create a base and then carves proportional figures.

Adoption Rate: $500

To adopt this piece, contact our curator Alysa at aprocida [at] miamuseum [dot] ca.

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- Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Adopt an Object: Drum Dancers

11 Feb
Luke (Lukie) Airut Drum Dancers 3edited

This jawbone piece “Drum Dancers” by Luke (Lukie) Airut is part of the MIA’s new Adopt an Object fundraising initiative.

As part of  the MIA’s new fundraising initiative ‘Adopt an Object’, we’ll be highlighting a featured item from our Permanent Collection that staff have chosen to represent some of  the unique pieces we display in the museum. For more information on the program itself and what it means to be a donor, you can check out our past blog post.

Today, we’re highlighting a staff favourite – Luke (Lukie) Airut’s “Drum Dancers”

Artist: Luke (Lukie) Airut (b. 1942)
Location: Igulik
Date: 2007
Medium: Jawbone, ivory, baleen
Dimensions (H x W x D): 7” x 5” x 3”
Collection: MIA Collection

Significance: Luke Airut is well known for his intricate carving and use of organic materials. Drum Dancers incorporates all these hallmarks—the amount of detail in the people and animals within the piece is truly amazing for working in such a small scale. This is also one of the museum’s most prized possessions as this sculpture is our only example of a sculpture created using a walrus jawbone, a material that needs exceptional skill to carve!

Adoption Rate: $300

To adopt this piece, contact our curator Alysa at aprocida [at] miamuseum [dot] ca.

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- Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Adopt an Object: Untited (Two Handles)

23 Jan
Two handles from the Thule Period

These handles from the Thule Period are part of the MIA’s new Adopt an Object fundraising initiative.

As part of  the MIA’s new fundraising initiative ‘Adopt an Object’, we’ll be highlighting a featured item from our Permanent Collection that staff have chosen to represent some of  the unique pieces we display in the museum. For more information on the program itself and what it means to be a donor, you can check out our past blog post.

Today, we’re highlighting a staff favourite – Thule handles.

Artist: Unidentified
Location: 
Arctic Canada
Date: Thule Period
Medium: Ivory, pigment
Dimensions:  a) H .20″ x W 4.75″ x D 0.50″   b) H0.20″ x W 5.0″ x D 1.5″
Collection: MIA Collection

Significance:
The MIA has a small collection of objects from the Thule Period, which consists of some of the objects that are most in need of preventative conservation due to their age and material. The Thule are the direct ancestors of modern Inuit. These handles are two of the oldest objects in the MIA collection and are excellent representations of art typically produced by Thule, being utilitarian in nature and incised with lines and dots.

This piece has been adopted.

logo- Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Adopt an Object: Untitled (Walrus Amulet)

14 Jan
Walrus amulet

This walrus amulet from the  Thule period is part of the MIA’s new Adopt an Object fundraising initiative.

As part of  the MIA’s new fundraising initiative ‘Adopt an Object’, we’ll be highlighting a featured item from our Permanent Collection that staff have chosen to represent some of  the unique pieces we display in the museum. For more information on the program itself and what it means to be a donor, you can check out our past blog post.

Today, we’re highlighting a staff favourite – a walrus amulet.

Artist: Unidentified
Location: 
Arctic Canada
Date: Thule Period (1000 – c.1650)
Medium: Ivory, pigment
Dimensions:  H 0.5″ x W 1.5″ x D 0.5″
Collection: MIA Collection

Significance: This piece was created by the Thule who are the direct ancestors of modern Inuit. The Walrus Amulet is one of the more figural pieces in our collection from this period, which is quite unique as most Thule art is more abstract and utilitarian. Help us preserve one of our oldest and most sensitive pieces in the collection by adopting this piece.

Adoption rate: $150

To adopt this piece, contact our curator Alysa at aprocida [at] miamuseum [do-t] ca.

UPDATE: This piece has recently been adopted by a generous donor and is no longer available. 

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- Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Spotlight On: Ivory in Inuit Art

11 Apr

Artist Unidentified, Thule Period, Comb, MIA Collection

As far as materials we display in the museum go, few are as controversial as ivory. And it’s no wonder: the most well-known source of ivory is elephant tusks, whose trade severely effected their population. At MIA, we have many ivory pieces on display and often get questions about how it was obtained, where it was obtained and why it was used at all. These are all good questions and ones I want to address.

Ivory in the Arctic generally comes from one of two sources: walrus or narwhal tusks. The word “tusks,” though, is misleading: what we call tusks are actually overgrown incisor teeth. Normally a male narwhal’s upper left incisor tooth begins to protrude (female narwhal generally don’t have a tusk), while both upper incisor teeth on a walrus do the same. Very rarely, both of a narwhal’s upper incisor teeth will protrude, too. The narwhal’s tusk is also the subject of a traditional Inuit legend.

Inuit and their ancestors have hunted walrus and narwhal for centuries in order to survive. Both species are a food source for Inuit and were relied on for the raw materials to make objects like knives and clothing. The local need to hunt these animals continues to this day, an issue highlighted by the recent restrictions of legal export of  narwhal tusks from 17 Arctic communities in Nunavut. International trade in ivory is severely restricted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Speciesof Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The ivory pieces in the museum range from small Thule objects like the comb featured above to intricately carved tusks incorporated into stone sculptures, like those used by Bart Hanna (1948 – ) from Iglulik. Using these pieces of ivory is a way for Inuit artists to essentially recycle: once the animal has been used for its primary purpose, food, the leftover ivory is also utilized.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Officer

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