The first face that pops up in ‘Carved in Stone: Sanannguaqtit’ a new local documentary about Inuit artists, belongs to George Arlook. He’s smiling with his eyes and his teeth as he tells the story of an early stone sculpture – a little seal head he made in 1961.
“Hudson’s Bay bought it,” he said, for 75 cents.
The camera soon shows Arlook, who was born in 1949 and spent much of his life in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, sitting outside his West End home, chisel in hand and stone between his knees. It’s always thrilling to watch an artist at work, but in under an hour, Carved in Stone makes a compelling case that it’s even more thrilling if you know the artist’s story and heritage.
“It seems that artists are often lost behind their artwork,” Kailey Sheppard, an artist featured in the documentary said. “Because you just see the art piece and a lot of people don’t look much further than the art piece.”
Sheppard said something along those lines to filmmakers Angela Heck and Ivan Hughes while out for coffee a while back, and it became their film’s central thesis: the second part of its title, Sanannguaqtit, is Inuktitut for “the artists,” and Heck and Hughes let local Inuit artists like Arlook, Sheppard, Jocelyn Piirainen and Goota and Joe Ashoona share their histories and their work with the viewer without much interruption.
The resulting documentary debuts on CBC Manitoba and CBC’s Gem streaming service Nov. 7.
For both Heck and Hughes, whose Fringe Filmworks produced the film, the introduction to Inuit art came when they were young: Heck’s mother would bring home pieces from the Manitoba Craft Guild in the 1960s, and Hughes’ father, an anthropologist, would bring home pieces from Igloolik.
“I never heard the stories behind any of those pieces,” said Hughes. “They were anonymous, and I wish I could find those pieces again and hear the stories of the people who made them.” Heck adds, “I grew up surrounded by it, but I never knew much about it.”
With their film, Heck and Hughes share several of those stories with viewers, showcasing the artists, who often explain their family history, inspirations, and more.
The best example of this is the Ashoona family. Piirainen, an experimental artist and the assistant curator of Inuit art at the WAG, visits the family just outside Elie, Man., and films Goota and her son, Joe, at work. Originally from Cape Dorsett, Goota explains that her grandmother, Pitseolak Ashoona, was a talented artist, and that in their family, art is as hereditary as DNA.
Working outside on a bear carving, Joe proudly tells the camera that he’s a fourth-generation carver. “It’s just what I do,” he says. “It’s who I am.”
“Their family legacy is so rich and so storied, it really should be a much bigger part of our own Canadian identity,” Heck said.
At 45 minutes, the documentary is a quick bite of a topic that is worth enjoying for a whole meal, and Heck and Hughes both hope viewing it will inspire people to learn more about the people – their hands, their minds, their histories – who make the art possible.
Work on the project started in 2016, and Heck said it’s fortuitous that its completion aligns so closely with the long-awaited arrival of Qaumajuq, the WAG’s soon-to-open Inuit art centre.
“(The documentary) will provide some context for the new gallery, which is going to be a game-changer,” Heck said.
Hariri Pontarini To Design Art Gallery of York University – Urban Toronto
Hariri Pontarini Architects (HPA) have been selected to design a new, stand-alone art gallery at York University. The new building will become a centrepiece at the Keele Campus, building upon the rich history of the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), and magnifying its reach into the local community and the world beyond.
Rendering of the winning design. Image courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects.
Boasting a contemporary, contextual design with the firm’s signature curves, HPA’s proposal stood out in the online design competition which saw a wide show of interest from strong contenders in the architectural community. Moriyama and Teshima Architects and gh3 were also on the shortlist. All three firms have received Governor General’s Medals in Architecture.
The new building will be located at the heart of the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design, adjacent to the Harry W. Arthurs Common, steps from the subway station. The three-storey building will highlight contemporary and historic art and include a ground level event space with four separate gallery spaces set within a xeriscape garden.
AGYU’s collection currently contains 1,700 works including…
- prominent donations of works by Norval Morrisseau and Andy Warhol
- 200 prints and sculptures by renowned and influential Inuit artists including Kenojuak Ashevek and Kananginak Pootoogook
- paradigmatic work by Canadian “Automatistes” Jean-Paul Riopelle and Paul-Emile Borduas
- American Modernists such as Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Noland
- RISE, an internationally acclaimed film by Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, featuring performances from some of Toronto’s most influential spoken word and rap artists.
Aerial: The new building will sit at the heart of York Keele Campus’ School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design, adjacent to the Harry W. Arthurs Common, between the Accolade East Building and the Centre for Film & Theatre. Image courtesy of Googlemaps.
Founding Partner Siamak Hariri cites his excitement to help reimagine the AGYU’s future, “To signify this transformation, we were inspired by metaphor and nature. Like a butterfly, each of the five wings of the new gallery extend their reach out to the campus and of course beyond. Responding to the AGYU’s aspiration to expand the social and civic role of the gallery, the building will have a powerful presence, a new presence, embracing the full University Common, and welcoming and attracting visitors to all the wonder it has to offer.”
The AGYU opened in 1988 and moved into its current 3,000 ft² in 2006. The new building, combined with the AGYU’s existing space, will form a unified art institution and an important hub for artistic engagement. “The new design reflects our vision of an accessible and collaborative art gallery that serves as a space for creation, exhibition and appreciation of diverse art and culture,” says President & Vice- Chancellor Rhonda Lenton.
Philanthropists and art collectors Joan and Martin Goldfarb donated $5 million towards the gallery, kicking off this expansion and flagging the importance of the arts on campus. The eponymous Joan and Martin Goldfarb Gallery will honour the Goldfarb’s long history of supporting the arts at York University.
Rendering of the winning design, aerial view from across the Harry W. Arthurs Common. Image courtesy of Hariri Pontarini Architects.
With this win, HPA adds to its notable cultural and institutional portfolio, which includes the recently opened Tom Patterson Theatre in Stratford, and the internationally award-winning Bahá’í Temple of South America.
You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you’d like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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Province puts up $100K to get more art into public places on P.E.I. – CBC.ca
The province has set aside $100,000 over the next two years to develop a public art policy for the province.
Michelle MacCallum, director of cultural development with Innovation PEI, says it will enable the province to commission and acquire public art for government sites such as hospitals, schools and parks.
“I love seeing artwork all over our province,” she said.
“I think about how much it delights and engages and sometimes challenges people when they come upon public art.”
Different than art bank
MacCallum said it will also be another opportunity for Island artists to display their work and earn money from it.
She said it will be different from the provincial art bank.
“This is more specific to sites. So if we were building a new school or some kind of provincial government office building, if you think about it, the building in and of itself is a public entity. But there’s nothing, there’s no art around it. It doesn’t say anything about it, about the people that use it, about what it’s for,” MacCallum said.
“So public art is there to augment the site specifically rather than just acquiring a catalog of the best of art, which is what the art bank does.”
Selected by jury
MacCallum said they will consult with architects and developers of potential sites, then put out request for proposals. The art will be selected by a jury.
She said there are a few sites being considered, but it’s too soon to disclose the locations.
More from CBC P.E.I.
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Spero Health has announced plans to open their newest addiction treatment clinic in Hopkinsville, KY as part of the organization’s quick response to the growing need for expanded services as communities continue to see an increase in drug overdose deaths. CARF -accredited and community based, Spero Health is a national leader in providing care for individuals struggling with substance use disorders and will bring affordable, high quality addiction treatment services through a combination of telehealth and in-person visit options at this new clinic. Located at 111Susan Avenue, it is set to open its doors on December 1st. The new Hopkinsville Clinic joins a network of more than 45 Spero Health locations throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Indiana, providing care for more than 8,400 patients each month. To ensure access to care is not a barrier to treatment, Spero Health accepts Kentucky Medicaid and most commercial insurance plans. Individuals who need addiction treatment services are encouraged to call: 270-962-2255 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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