Tag Archives: museum of inuit art

Crafts at MIA

25 May

Everyone at MIA is looking forward to the Doors Open Toronto event at Queens Quay Terminal. MIA’s volunteers are busy preparing for the event in our Education Centre. Inspired by the ivory miniatures and camp scene sculptures in the MIA exhibit, our creative arts assistants are constructing an arctic landscape for a special MIA Kid’s collaborative activity! Kids will have the opportunity to contribute to this project by designing their own arctic animals, snow houses, inuksuks, kayaks, and igloos from modeling clay and paper.

Emily Pangnilik Iluitok’s “Winter Scene: With Dog Sleds and Igloos”, Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay), made from stone, ivory, leather, hide and sinew, from the MIA Collection.

MIA Arts Assistants preparing the arctic landscape and practicing their crafts projects for Doors Open Toronto.

There will be lots to do and see at Toronto’s Harbourfront this weekend, so come on over, get inspired, and add to our Arctic environment! At the end of the DOT weekend, MIA will be sharing pictures of the finished landscape! Check out the excellent creations or show us your creative side and join in – everyone is welcome to add to our collaborative project. Learn more about what MIA is for Door Open Toronto here.

The Museum of Inuit Art offers drawing materials in our Education Centre daily, and crafts led by MIA’s arts assistants are offered every Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-4pm!

Posted By Emma Ward, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Spotlight on Volunteers: Sophie

15 May

At the Museum of Inuit Art, we greatly appreciate the time and effort of our volunteers contribute in ensuring the museum meets its mission and mandate. On any given week, we have approximately thirty volunteers, all of whom come from a variety of backgrounds and are an amazing asset to MIA. We asked some of our volunteers to share their museum experiences with us. First volunteer that we’d like to introduce you to is Sophie. Sophie not only helped out a great deal at the Front Desk but also did translation for our MIA Magazine that came out in January 2012. We’ve included the interview below in English and French as it was translated by Sophie!

Volunteer Sophie in the entrance of the Museum of Inuit Art
Sophie has been volunteering at the Museum since May 2011

Q: How did you first get involved with MIA and what do you like most about volunteering here?

A: I decided to give some of my time to the museum thanks to another volunteer, Juliana that I know outside of MIA who told me how amazing it is to work at the museum. What I love the most is the atmosphere. The staff and the volunteers get along very well, everybody is nice, and the surrounding art is beautiful.

Q: If you could tell our readers something about MIA what would it be?

A: The MIA is a wonderful museum that you cannot ignore. It is a hidden gem in Toronto

Q: Can you tell us about a particularly interesting experience that you’ve had during your time at MIA? 

A: I had the chance to be involved in the first edition of the MIA Magazine as the French Translator. The museum gave me this incredible opportunity to start my translator career and I am very grateful for that.

Q: Quels ont été vos premiers pas envers le musée et que préférez-vous le plus en tant que bénévole?

R: J’ai décidé de devenir bénévole au musée grâce à une autre bénévole, Juliana, que je connais en dehors du musée et qui m’a dit à quel point il est fabuleux de travailler au musée. Ce que je préfère le plus, c’est l’atmosphère. Les employés et les bénévoles s’entendent tous très bien, tout le monde est très gentil et puis l’art qui nous entoure est magnifique.

Q: Si vous pouviez dire quelque chose à nos lecteurs à propos du MAI, de quoi s’agirait-il?

R: Le MAI est un musée merveilleux et surtout incontournable. Il s’agit d’une pierre précieuse de Toronto bien cachée.

Q : Pouvez-vous nous raconter une expérience intéressante en particulier que vous avez vécue au MAI?

R: J’ai eu la chance d’être impliquée dans la première édition du MIA Magazine en tant que traductrice vers le français. Le musée m’a offert cette incroyable opportunité de pouvoir débuter ma carrière et j’en suis très reconnaissante.

Most recently, Sophie had to leave her position at the Front Desk to move to France. From all of us at the Museum we wish her, her husband and doggie all the best in their new life overseas! You’re greatly missed!


Posted by: Karolina Tomaszewska, Development Officer


Focus On: Barnabus Arnasungaaq’s Musk Ox

6 May

Barnabus Arnasungaaq’s (1924-) is an Inuit artist from Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake). Barnabus’s works have been a major influence and contribution to Inuit art from Qamani’tuaq since the 1960s.  He has a diverse repertoire of exceptional sculptures; however his muskox sculptures at the Museum of Inuit Art are some of my personal favourites, and are also very popular with visitors. His ability to capture the essence of his subject in a beautifully fluid style appeals to the viewer’s senses, and often makes them want to touch the art work.

Figure 1: Barnabus Arnasungaaq’s (1924-) “Musk Ox” (c. 1970s)

Figure 2: Barnabus Arnasungaaq’s (1924-) “Musk Ox” (1977)

The type of stone available to carve in Qamani’tuaq is a hard stone, which is very difficult to shape and to carve detailing into. The limitations of working with such a stone has certainly contributed to the style of the region, and to Barnabus’s personal expression.  His figures are heavy-set, rounded, and slightly abstract in design.

He captures the characteristics and mannerisms of the musxox by amplifying its features, such as the heavy rounded coat of the muskox in Figure 1 and the arched shoulders of the muskox in Figure 2. Muskoxen are a popular subject with carvers in the region, along with figures of hunters and animal-human transformations.

Musk Ox

Muskoxen in the wild (c) Alastair Knock, used under Creative Commons license.

Come to the museum to take a look at some other works by Barnabus Arnasungaaq!

– Posted By Emma Ward, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Skype Chat Series 2: Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory of Qaggiavvut!

2 Feb

As promised, today I had the pleasure of speaking with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, the Executive Director of Qaggiavvut! Society for a Nunavut Performing Arts Centre. There was so much to talk about that we had to split the conversation into two videos!

Watch Part 1 here:

And Part 2 here:

For more information on Qaggiavvut! or help build a state-of-the-art performing arts centre in Iqaluit, be sure to go to the website.

I’m working on lining up our next interview (hopefully for next week) – who would you like to see us talk to next?

– Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

Conversation Series: Bart Hanna

30 Jan

As we’ve previously mentioned, January 12th was the official launch of the International Year of Co-Operatives (or IYC) in Canada. Co-operatives play a major role in the history of Inuit art and continue to make important contributions to not only art-making, but also Arctic communities as a whole.

To celebrate the launch, we were able to record the first in a year-long series of informal conversations with artists throughout the Arctic. Thanks to technological advances, I am able to speak to artists in their own communities via Skype and record those conversations to share with you.

Speaking to Bart Hanna via Skype

Iglulik artist Bart Hanna very kindly agreed to speak to us about his artistic process on the 12th and it was an absolute pleasure. He is one of the museum’s most talked-about artists and you can learn more about him on our virtual tour of the museum.

We are still working out the kinks in this system, as you can see in the video: our connection unfortunately dropped at the end of the interview and due to the dimensions of the recorded area, you can only see the top of my face in the video. We are working on ironing these out as we continue throughout the year.

These videos are also an opportunity for you, our visitors, to participate. When we confirm an interview, visitors are welcome to send us questions to ask a particular artists here in the blog comments, on Facebook, on Twitter or via email. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal who we are interviewing next just yet, but keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, is there anyone you’d like to see us speak to this year?

-Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator




Arts and Crafts with Danielle!

28 Jan

As some of you may already know, in MIA’s M. and G. Thiel Educational Centre, we provide a variety of hands-on art and cultural activities from 12pm to 4pm every weekend. Our volunteer Arts Assistant, Danielle, helps to come up with an array of arts and crafts activities inspired by Inuit art on display in the Museum.

Volunteer Arts Assistant Danielle with an Inuksuk pendant made out of clay!


Volunteer Arts Assistant Danielle is at MIA every Saturday from 12-4 helping visitors (of all ages!) create their very own works of art.

Make your own MIA inspired pencil toppers out of clay!

Make your own MIA inspired pencil toppers out of clay!

Make your own Inuksuk magnet or pendant out clay!

Here at MIA we always have something fun and exciting going on! Be sure to check out our website and also our blog for more information on upcoming events, activities and exhibitions.

Hope to see you all soon!

Posted by: Karolina Tomaszewska, MIA’s Development Officer