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A Mother’s Day Amauti Lesson

13 May

Time for another intern update!
This week I was able observe a few docent tours and training sessions where our volunteers went through the MIA collection and pointed out fun Inuit facts.

For those of you who have taken part in the MIA’s docent program, you may have been introduced to some “two-headed sculptures” during your tour. These are actually part of a very popular theme in Inuit art and a perfect sculptural reference for Mother’s day!

Mari Kuunnuaq “Mother and Child” (c.1980) in the Museum of Inuit Art Collection

The “second head” belongs to that of a small child, who is being held against the mother’s back by an amauti. While in many artistic depictions it appears as though the baby is nestled in the hood of a parka, they are actually secured in a type of pouch and share the enlarged hood with their mother – so both can be protected from the cold arctic wind.

The amauti is an incredibly practical and multi-functioning piece of clothing. While the mother is busy working with her hands, she can swivel the child behind her. When it’s feeding time, the mother can bring the baby back to her front without needing to take off her warm parka. Not only does the amauti keep the baby sheltered from the harsh environment, but some people have argued that it even strengthens the bond between mother and child because of the close contact they remain in.

On the left is Margaret Notarina “Muskox Pack Doll” (c.2002) and on the right is an unidentified artist (“M.E.”) “Rabbit Pack Doll” (c. mid-200s) from the Museum of Inuit Art Collection.

MIA also has these pack doll examples made of duffle. These guys are definitely on my Top 10 list of favorite MIA pieces, and quite a few visitors from the Playing Favorites blog seem to agree with me.

So to all those mom’s out there. Happy Mother’s Day, and thanks for the lift!

posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Educational Assistant

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Where’s My Playing Favourite?

20 Aug

You may be wondering where all our new Playing Favourites are, especially if you have recently participated and would like to see your entry. As you may know, MIA is currently running a project called Playing Favourites, where we ask visitors what their favourite pieces in our collection are and why. It’s been an absolutely amazing success since we began in June.

Originally, Playing Favourites was intended to be a project for the duration of National Aboriginal History Month (June) – however, we were so impressed with the responses and so enjoyed getting to know our visitors better that we’ve decided to make this a permanent part of MIA’s programming. We couldn’t be happier that so many people have responded and shared with us, and we are excited to continue hearing your stories.

To officially instate Playing Favourites as a permanent feature, it now has its own dedicated blog that we maintain. To see every entry (including those that were done recently), please see: http://playingfavouritesatmia.wordpress.com/

The Playing Favourites on this blog are being slowly transferred over to the new blog and will eventually only exist there. We will periodically showcase particular entries on this blog, but in the future, all Playing Favourites will be on their dedicated blog.

Thank you again to everyone who has shared their favourite works with us – we can’t wait to see more of them.

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Playing Favourites: Yazmin H., August 11, 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 volunteer Yazmin H. with "Plant" (2003) by Arnaquaq Ashevak (1956 - 2009 ), Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Stone, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

MIA volunteer Yazmin H. with "Plant" (2003) by Arnaquaq Ashevak (1956 - 2009 ), Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Stone, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

Iqaluit, Nunavut

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

No, this is definitely not my first visit.  I love it here!

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

I’ve always liked trees, especially willow trees.

Posted by: Jessica Cappuccitti, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator

Playing Favourites: Olivia M., August 11, 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 volunteer Olivia M. with “Seated Woman” (c.1920s) by an Unidentified Artist, Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Ivory, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

 

MIA volunteer Olivia M. with "Seated Woman" (c.1920s) by an Unidentified Artist, Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Ivory, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

Toronto, ON

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

To volunteer.  This is my fourth time visiting the museum.

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

Very small, but still represent Inuit culture.

Posted by: Jessica Cappuccitti, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator

Playing Favourites: Ghazal H., August 11, 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 volunteer Ghazal H. with "Mask" (2008) by Dolfus Cadieux (1956 - ), Yellowknife, NWT, Stone, Private Collection on Loan to MIA

Where are you from?

North York, ON

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

To volunteer.  Yes, I have been here before.

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

There are pretty colours.  This piece represents Inuit culture in a fun way that catches the eye of a youth such as myself.

Posted by: Jessica Cappuccitti, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator

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: Sophie K., 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 Sophie K. with "Sedna With Tusk" (2009) by Bart Hanna (1949 - ), Iglulik, Stone, ivory, Sprott/MIA Collection

Where are you from?

Lindsay, ON

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

Interest in Native Culture and art.

Why is this your favourite piece in the collection?

I never expected to see something like that out of Native Culture.

Posted by: Jessica Cappuccitti, MIA’s Volunteer Coordinator