Introducing Our New Development Intern!

13 Jan

Natasha A

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

Stories by the Qulliq

29 Dec
qulliq

A qulliq lamp burning whale blubber to keep the iglu warm. Photo by Brendan Griebel, 2012.

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.

qulliq

This qulliq is from the museums Educational Collection so visitors can get up close and see one in person.

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?

fire spirits rising

“Fire Spirits Rising” (2008) by David Ruben Piqtoukun (1951 – ) Paulatuk, stone, charcoal

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

‘Nuliajuk’ Comes to MIA

20 Nov
IMG_9471

MIA Collections Manager Lauren Williams receives a wall hanging from Jacob Keanik, President/Chair of the Gjoa Haven Heritage Society

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!

Helen Wallhanging

“Nuliayok” (2013) by Helen Kaloon (1959- ) Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), duffle and embroidery thread, MIA Collection.

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

Introducing Our Design and Arts Programmer!

9 Aug

The Museum of Inuit Art is pleased to welcome our fourth summer student for 2014, Natasha Dinsmore!

IMG_1331

My name is Natasha Dinsmore, I am a Ryerson University student currently working on obtaining my bachelor of design. I am fortunate to be joining the MIA team for the summer as the Design and Arts Programmer, a position that is made possible by Miziwe Biik.

My background is Inuvialuit, my mother was born and raised in Inuvik, so I am very passionate about working with and learning more about Inuit art. I am entering my final year at Ryerson University and my graduating collection will be inspired by my Inuit background. This is also a great opportunity for me to further gain experience in creating promotional materials and honing my graphic design abilities.

Tasks that Natasha will be completing over the month of August include the creation of a brochure to promote our school programs, promotional banners for the website, and the development of art activities for the 2015 calendar year.

– Posted by: Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator

A Peek Inside the Museum’s Gift Shop!

31 Jul

As some of you know, the museum has a great gift shop! It carries works by artists from all over Arctic Canada as well as a selection of books, cards, T-shirts and DVDs to choose the perfect gift or souvenir of your visit to the museum. Today we’re going to introduce you to Ashley, our retail sales associate in the gift shop so she can take you along as she does an unboxing of new inventory!

My name is Ashley Cook and I’ve been the retail sales associate at the gift shop for about a year now. I’m here to help visitors find that little something they love so that they have a souvenir of their trip! This past week, we received a new selection of works for the shop, so I thought I’d take you along with me to show you what happens.

The shop works directly with Arctic Co-operatives to choose our inventory. Once we have decided what pieces we want for the shop, they get sent to us processed.

Time to start unpacking this box!

Time to start unpacking this box!

Making sure everyone's here.

Making sure everyone’s here.

If you’re wondering, yes, it is a little bit like Christmas every time we get new pieces for the shop! As soon as we open the box, we have to make sure everyone’s safe and accounted for. Everybody gets checked off of the main list given to us by the co-op that sent us the pieces.

We get by with a little help from our friends...

We get by with a little help from our friends…

Once everybody’s been checked off, they’re all given a unique inventory number so we can keep track of them. All pieces get measured and weighed, and some get photographed for the gift shop’s website.

Tags galore!

I think he may be in the lightweight class...

He may be in the lightweight class…

Once they’ve been measured, priced and photographed, they can go out into the shop for you to take home. Our bear shelves have some new inhabitants now!

Hanging out with some friends

Hanging out with some friends!

We get new pieces fairly regularly here in the shop, so come by and see what’s new! Also, if you’re interested in any of the pieces you saw in this post, or have any questions, feel free to come visit or send me an email! We’re open every day, 10am to 6pm, and you can send me a message at shop@miamuseum.ca.

-Posted by: Ashley Cook, MIA’s Retail Sales Associate in the Gift Shop

Introducing Our Collections Management Officer!

15 Jul
The Museum of Inuit Art is excited to welcome our third summer student for 2014. This Collections Management Officer position was funded by the Métis Nation of Ontario through the Summer Career Placement program.

 
My name is Jessica MacLean, I’m excited to be joining the MIA collections team this summer through a partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario.

I hold a BA in History and Art from the University of Victoria. This September I will be starting my Post Grad at Fleming in Cultural Heritage Management and Conservation. I am passionate about preserving Aboriginal material culture, so I feel like my time at MIA will be an amazing learning experience. I’m looking forward to working with a variety of objects. I have just started work with the Moorehead Collection, a collection of works on paper by artist Malaya Akulukjuk, which I am already loving. I hope to be able to share my work with everyone on the museum’s Instagram, so stay tuned!

– Posted by: Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator

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

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