Four months has gone by incredibly fast for me here at the Museum of Inuit Art! It’s been exceptionally rewarding and informative and I believe that I have learned a considerable amount compared to when I first started in January as the Collections Management Intern. I’ve learned how to catalog and condition report, accession objects and how to move them safely around the museum. I have also how difficult it can be to put up exhibition text panels (it’s surprisingly time-consuming). I’m incredibly grateful to my supervisor, Lauren, for sharing with me her collections wisdom and prowess and providing me with a place where I could learn what’s required for a professional career in museum collections management. Who knew that box making could be a quantifiable skill? I certainly did not, but it’s one that I now have (and like to brag about).
Since the museum has pieces made from a variety of types of materials, I have been able to learn a lot about proper care and storage procedures for substances such as stone, ivory, bone and antler, materials I didn’t think I would ever work closely with. The collection here at the museum is both amazing and diverse and I’m so glad that I have been able to learn and work with the objects, mostly the carvings of arctic wildlife. I now have a particular fondness for all things narwhal and walrus, like this handsome guy by Joanassie Oomayoualook who’s just so chubby and adorable.– Posted by Beth P., MIA’s Collections Managment Intern
My name is Caitlin Hudson, and I am the new Programming and Outreach Assistant at the MIA! I’m a graduate of the Applied Museum Studies program at Algonquin College, and over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to work in museums, art galleries, and archives all across Ontario. I have worked in many different areas of museums (including collections, exhibitions, and programming), and I’m always looking for an opportunity to learn something new. I have little experience working with Inuit Art, so working at the MIA is the perfect opportunity for me to diversify my knowledge of art and art history.
I’m going to be working on a lot of different projects here, including developing new and exciting programming for visitors of all ages, and working on different outreach initiatives. I’m so excited to join the MIA team, and I look forward to meeting you at an upcoming programming event! Be sure to check out the museum’s events page to see what I’ll have in store you for this month for March Break and other special dates and programming.
– Posted by Caitlin H., MIA’s Programming and Outreach Assistant
My name is Beth Pufall and I am currently a student at Centennial College as part of the Culture and Heritage Site Management post-graduate program. I am pleased to join the MIA as the Collections Management Intern.
Having completed my bachelor’s degree in art history, I have a passion for art and culture and how they can be articulated through the museum experience. Already, I am enjoying learning about Inuit art, a subject that I have little experience with. Through my internship here at MIA, I am excited to immerse myself in the world of museum collections and gain knowledge about handling museum objects. Over the next four months I’m most looking forward to working with the objects in the MIA’s collection, which are both diverse and intriguing.
– Posted by Beth P., MIA’s Collections Manager Intern
Hi! My name is Natasha Ali and I am the new Development Intern at MIA.
After completing my undergraduate in history and art history at the University of Toronto, I decided to seek out a profession within the arts, culture and heritage industry. Currently I am attending Centennial College where I am working toward obtaining a post graduate certificate in cultural and heritage site management. I have been provided with a wonderful opportunity to join the MIA team for the next four months.
Working alongside Lindsay Bontoft, the Development Coordinator and Brittany Holliss, the Digital Assets Coordinator, I will be actively exploring new ways of seeking out prospective donors as well as increasing membership through the promotion of MIA’s collections and exhibitions. With a passion for connecting communities to their local arts and heritage institutions, I hope to generate support for the museum’s “Businesses Make MIA Free” program which will increase the public’s access to understanding Inuit art.
– Posted By: Natasha Ali, MIA’s Development Intern
This past weekend the museum hosted “Stories by the Qulliq” where a series a of children’s stories illustrated several popular Inuit legends and myths. But what exactly is a qulliq?
Qulliq or Kudlik (ᖁᓪᓕᖅ) is the traditional oil lamp used by Inuit. Typically carved from stone, it takes a rounded shape with a depression at the top to hold the seal oil used as fuel. Prior to electricity and hydro becoming available in the Arctic this lamp acted as the only source of light and heat for Inuit. During the periods of perpetual winter darkness, the qulliq would have burned almost continuously inside the house. It also doubled as a stove.
Tending to the qulliq was commonly a woman’s job and was truly an art in itself. Cubes of blubber were placed on the lamp’s concave surface. A blubber pounder was used to crush the blubber, pressing out the precious oil it contained. The lamp wick, made from moss or cotton grass, was soaked in this oil and arranged on a line along the edge of the lamp. Prior to Inuit having access to matches, they would use a bow drill or two flint stones to create a spark to ignite the lamp. Once the lamp was lit, it required constant attention and trimming to ensure that the flames were the right height, that it wasn’t producing too much smoke, and that it wouldn’t go out.
While visitors listened to the tiny tale of the Inugarulligaarjuit in “Ava and the Little Folk” or sat in suspense during “The Spirit of the Sea” our very own qulliq was on display. Our collection also holds contemporary interpretations of the lamp. Notice anything different?
This piece by David Ruben Piqtoukun, is now on display inside the museum. You can find it in our Abstract case where you can learn more about the Follow You Art program.
Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Digital Assets Coordinator
Last week the museum had a group of special guests visit the museum. And they came a loooong way for a tour!
Despite a few flight delays and a battle through Toronto traffic, Obrian Kydd from the Nunavut Economic Developers Association and Jacob Keanik, the President/Chair of the Nattilik Heritage Society made the trip from Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven) to MIA as one of their Toronto stops.
Touring through the museum exhibitions, MIA staff introduced our ‘Follow Your Art’ program – used to help identify the different styles seen in Inuit Art- and of course we wanted to showcase all the unique and talented artists whose works are represented in the museum. It was such a real thrill to see Obrian and Jacob recognize pieces their friends had made and hear some of the stories behind the sculptures.
After an exciting brain storming session about future programming and a good chuckle about the Franklin Expedition discovery/the importance of oral history MIA staff were speechless when we were presented with a beautiful wall hanging made by Helen Kaloon!
This duffle wall hanging shows a scene from the story of Nuliajuk, who many of our visitors may also know as ‘Sedna’. Although there are different variations to the story, the main elements are consistent across story tellers and Nuliajuk is always credited as being the creator of the sea-life found in the Arctic. Depending on who is telling the story, some people will describe how Nuliajuk tried to flee her husband by clinging to the side of her father’s boat during a rescue attempt while another version describes Nuliajuk swimming into the Arctic ocean in an attempt to catch up to her parents who have abandoned her. In both accounts, to release Nuliajuk from the boat her fingers are cut off. Unable to hold onto the boat any longer, she sinks into the ocean where her severed fingers transform into the sea animals who now inhabit the Arctic ocean.
We hope Helen’s ‘Nuliajuk’ wall hanging likes her view of Lake Ontario, we’ll certainly enjoy having her as an artist ambassador for the Kitikmeot Region here at the museum.
– Posted by: Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Digital Assets Coordinator