Tag Archives: manasie akpaliapik

I’ve Got A Bone to Pick!

11 Jul
Manice "Faces (Bone on Bone)"

“Faces (Bone on Bone)” by Manasie Akpaliapik (1955- ), Qikiqtaaluk, ossified whalebone, MIA Collection, 2013.4.30.1-2.

As the Young Canada Works Collections Management Officer here at the MIA, I started my summer off with a group of works – mostly stone sculpture – acquired by the museum in 2013.  I have always been interested in different materials used in the production of objects and Inuit art is no exception. So, from day one, I’m sure I sounded like a broken record: “Alysa, what kind of stone is this?”  Until finally, I began to recognize the vibrant greens of the serpentinite of a Toonoo Sharky, RCA and the bold black basalt in Barnabus Arnasungaaq’s work.

Toonoo Sharky "Spirit Fish"

“Spirit Fish” by Toonoo Sharky (1970- ), Kinngait (Cape Dorset), serpentinite stone, ivory, MIA Collection, 2013.4.41.

Barnabus "Man"

“Man” by Barnabus Arnasungaaq (1924 – ), Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), basalt stone, MIA Collection, 2013.4.55.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after I familiarized myself with the stone, I was thrown a curve-ball when I was tasked with cataloging and condition reporting Untitled [Faces (Bone on Bone)] by Manasie Akpaliapik.  I found this carving absolutely striking not only in the way the artist has created an eerily lifelike face but because it was a completely new medium to me: ossified whalebone.

amazed cat gif

My face during the entire experience.

Ossified whalebone is bone from whales that has been dried out over time making it a viable medium for carvings (prior to my time, someone very eloquently explained the process of whalebone carving on this very blog so I won’t go into great detail here). I have worked with bone before, both animal and human(!), but never whalebone!  This medium has the same bubbly-spongy look to it as a lot of other bone but only whale-sized!  I was entranced by its texture and managed to find a magnifying glass so I could get an even closer look!  For what felt like a long time I was lost in the microcosm of the whalebone. When I returned to reality, I finished cataloging and condition reporting the piece.  As Collections Management Officer I am required to take detailed photos of each piece and these definitely turned out to be some of my favourites!

Detail of "Faces (Bone on Bone)"

Detail of “Faces (Bone on Bone)”

Take a look and see what you think!

Detail of "Faces (Bone on Bone)"

Detail of “Faces (Bone on Bone)”

- Posted by: Lauren Williams, MIA’s Collections Management Officer

Let’s Talk About…Whalebone!

13 Apr

Many visitors coming into the Museum are often drawn in by our two large sculptures which are placed in the lobby. One of our frequently asked questions is what these are made of. Many guests guess that it is a type of wood because of the porous nature of the material.  The answer is that they are made of aged whalebone. Whalebone used in sculpture is old, not new. New whalebone is oily, smells, and will splinter if carved. Therefore, the older the bone, the better it is for carving.

Abraham Anghik Ruben's (1951-) "Memories: An Ancient Past" (2010), whalebone, stone, wood, Private Collection.

These bones come from the base of the whale’s skull and the round holes you can see are where the spinal cord fits into the skull. Many people assume that these are vertebrae, but vertebrae look quite different.

Whale skeleton-the highlighted portion is where the bone for the sculptures comes from!

Note how the shape of the vertebra is much different from the sculptures featured in our lobby!

Can you find other pieces made from whalebone in the Museum? Drop by and let us know! We have quite a few!

Posted by: Karolina Tomaszewska, MIA’s Development Officer

Playing Favourites: Leticia D., August 8, 2011

11 Aug

Playing Favourites is a running series featuring MIA visitors, staff and volunteers with their favorite objects in our collection.  Playing Favourites is open to every person at MIA, so please let us know if you’d like to participate the next time you visit.

MIA visitor Leticia D. with "Creation Story" (2007) by Manasie Akpaliapik (1955 - ), Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Whalebone, Ivory, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

Orlando Florida, USA

What brings you to MIA? Is this your first visit?

Just found out about it.

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

It is my favorite piece because of the unsolved mystery.  It is interesting to speculate as to what really happened and why in all versions her fingers are cut off.  Must represent something.  What does it represent?

Posted by: Jessica Cappuccitti, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator

Playing Favourites: Nikki J., July 31, 2011

4 Aug

Playing Favourites is a running series featuring MIA visitors, staff and volunteers with their favorite objects in our collection.  Playing Favourites is open to every person at MIA, so please let us know if you’d like to participate the next time you visit.

MIA visitor Niki next to “Spirit World of the Inuit” by Manasie Akpaliapik (1955 – ), Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Whalebone, stone, ivory, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

Iran

What brings you to MIA? Is this your first visit?

This is my first visit. I came here for pleasure.

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

This is my favourite piece in the collection because it is one of the most creative sculptures in the museum.

Posted by: Jessica Cappuccitti, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator

Playing Favourites: Edgar G., July 31, 2011

4 Aug

Playing Favourites is a running series featuring MIA visitors, staff and volunteers with their favorite objects in our collection.  Playing Favourites is open to every person at MIA, so please let us know if you’d like to participate the next time you visit.

MIA visitor Edgar next to "Spirit World of the Inuit" by Manasie Akpaliapik (1955 - ), Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Whalebone, stone, ivory, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

Mexico

What brings you to MIA? Is this your first visit?

I was just walking around by the shore and I found this amazing museum!

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

I was really surprised it was made of whale bone; and how many details and meanings it has.  Plus when I was told this whalebone might possibly be more than 400 years old I was astonished.

Posted by: Jessica Cappuccitti , MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator

Playing Favourites: Luc R., July 24, 2011

25 Jul

Playing Favourites is a running series featuring MIA visitors, staff and volunteers with their favorite objects in our collection.  Playing Favourites is open to every person at MIA, so please let us know if you’d like to participate the next time you visit.

MIA visitor Luc with "Creation Story" (2007) by Manasie Akpaliapik (1955 - ), Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Whalebone, Ivory, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

Warren, ON

What brings you to MIA? Is this your first visit?

It’s my first visit, I’m in Toronto on vacation.

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

Every time I looked at it, I saw something different.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Playing Favourites: Danielle R., July 24, 2011

25 Jul

Playing Favourites is a running series featuring MIA visitors, staff and volunteers with their favorite objects in our collection.  Playing Favourites is open to every person at MIA, so please let us know if you’d like to participate the next time you visit.

MIA visitor Danielle with "Creation Story" (2007) by Manasie Akpaliapik (1955 - ), Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Whalebone, Ivory, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

Warren, ON

What brings you to MIA? Is this your first visit?

Yes, it’s my first time; I’m visiting Toronto.

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

Because it is so much different than all the others. It has so much detail and so many things on it.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

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