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Ottawa exhibition spotlights the art and artists of Nunavik



The installation featuring throat singers Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik. Visitors stand in the felt pods and are then able to hear the singing. The outside of the pod features traditional tattoo patterns, or tunniit, designed by Mark. (Pierre Poirier/Canadian Museum of Nature)

A exhibition spotlighting the art and artists of Nunavik opened this Friday in Ottawa with a view to showcasing the region’s art and artists. 

Our Land, Our Art is taking place at the Canadian Museum of Nature and features the works of several Nunavik artists, created especially for the show. The works include a range of mediums from visual arts to video to beadwork to singing to circus performing.

It was put together by the Avataq Cultural Institute, which works to promote and preserve the language and culture of Inuit in Quebec.

The exhibition also features 32 traditional objects, artworks, and artifacts from the Avataq Cultural Institute’s collections, which provided inspiration to the artists. This sculpture is one of the items selected by throat singers Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik. (Pierre Poirier/Canadian Museum of Nature)

At Avataq we have things like archeology, cartography, genealogy, and art is a great way to talk about the link with the land,” Andrée Anne Vien, the coordinator for Aumaaggiivik, the Nunavik arts secretariat, told Eye on the Arctic in a phone interview.


“The choice of artists was really about showcasing the variety of disciplines as well as connecting with the young generation of emerging artists as well as established ones.”

Using the past to inspire the present 

Nunavik is the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec and has a population of approximately 13,000 people, with 14 communities.

The show is an important moment to showcase the unique Inuit culture of the region, Vien said.

“Many people don’t know there are four distinct Inuit regions in Canada, and that Nunavik is one of them,” she said. “An exhibition like this can show some of what makes Nunavik unique and we hope visitors see just how much talent there is in Nunavik.”

Artists include throat singers Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik; Taqralik Partridge, a visual and spoken-word artist originally from Kuujjuaq; Kangiqsujuaq photographer and video artist Lucasi Kiatainaq; and visual artists Qumaq M Iyaituk and her sister, Passa Mangiuk, who grew up in Ivujivik.

A large beaded amautik (women’s parka) by visual artist Taqralik Partridge. Her work is inspired by themes of the environment and ancestral connections to the land. (Pierre Poirier/Canadian Museum of Nature)

In addition, 32 items from Avataq’s collections are also on display, carefully chosen by the artists themselves and used to inspire the works for the show.

“The works themselves transmit so much about the land and the traditions, at the same time as how Nunavimmuit [people from Nunavik] live their culture today,” Vien said.

Those objects include things like contemporary carvings as well as objects traditionally used by Inuit including igaak (snow goggles), a nariarsaq (fishing lure) and a soapstone qulliq (oil lamp).

Some of the other objects include a pana (snow-knife blade) and a panak (knife handle ) made of walrus ivory.

The 1957 soapstone sculpture by Thomasie Kaitak that inspired photographer Lucasi Kiatainaq’s contributions to the show. (Pierre Poirier/Canadian Museum of Nature)

A wooden rod and seal bone, ajaqaq—similar to a cup-and-ball game—is also on display along with a wooden figure, believed to have been used as doll.

Throat singers Evie Mark and Akinisie Sivuarapik’s installation in the show is made up of two hanging pods that visitors can enter to hear the duo’s singing. The traditional items they chose includes archive photos and items associated with or used mostly by women.

For photographer and video artist Lucasi Kiatainaq, inspiration came from a 1957 soapstone sculpture of a hunter by Salluit artist Thomasie Kaitak.

“For me, it embodies that moment when a hunter experiences a feeling of uncertainty mixed with the adrenaline rush that comes with a success to come—a feeling that myself, my father and our ancestors have felt so often,” Kiatainaq told the museum.

Our Land, Our Art runs until October 2024.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

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This artwork is going to be on the moon 'for eternity' – CNN



Written by Nadia Leigh-Hewitson, CNN

In 1977, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Their mission was to explore the solar system and beyond. Aboard each was a “golden record,” a copper phonograph disk containing images, sounds from nature, and music to provide a snapshot of life on Earth to any intelligent life the craft might encounter. These were the first images to be sent into outer space.
Now, as the Voyagers travel into interstellar space, artists are beginning to explore what they can do off Earth. In March a piece by Dubai-based artist and philanthropist Sacha Jafri is set to land on the moon.

Jafri’s work, “We Rise Together — By the Light of the Moon,” is scheduled to fly into space on a United Launch Alliance rocket powered by engines developed by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The launch is scheduled to take place at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the first week of March.

The work is an engraving depicting a male and a female figure surrounded by 88 hearts.


“The original artwork was this beautiful heart motif. Two figures entwined, reconnecting and around them is blossoming flora, fauna,” explained Jafri. He says he wanted to capture “the unification of humanity through love and empathy” in his design.

"We Rise Together -- By the Light of the Moon," by Sacha Jafri.

“We Rise Together — By the Light of the Moon,” by Sacha Jafri. Credit: Selenian

For his canvas, a gold alloy was developed over two years to withstand the extreme environment on the lunar surface whilst keeping the artwork intact. But the piece isn’t intended only for extraterrestrial art lovers.

“When we land the physical work of art on the moon, a little beep sounds in the control room,” said Jafri. On that signal, 88 NFTs will be released for sale back on Earth.

Jafri plans to donate all proceeds to humanitarian charities. “I’m hoping to raise a huge amount of money for the four main charitable concerns of our world — health, education, sustainability, and equality,” he said.

The work was commissioned by Spacebit, a UK-based company that develops space robotics technology and data analytics tools, and will be sent to the moon by Spacebit and NASA Commercial Payload Services (CLPS). UAE-based company Selenian Network, which specializes in blockchain technologies, will facilitate the launch of the NFTs.

A lunar lander will place the work in a crater known as Lacus Mortis (the Lake of Death) where it will remain “for eternity.” According to Jafri, the mission will take between five days and two weeks to reach the moon, depending on conditions.

Art on the ISS

Jafri’s isn’t the only artwork to leave Earth in recent years. In 2017, a work by Israeli artist Eyal Gever was 3D printed on the International Space Station [ISS]. Gever crowdsourced recordings of laughter and used the sound wave signatures to create his sculpture.

In April last year, another Israeli artist, Liat Segal, and Yasmine Meroz, a physicist at Tel Aviv University, created an artwork that can only exist in space.

Making use of the lack of gravity in space, “Impossible Object” is a tiered structure of gold-colored metal tubes released water. On Earth the water would fall to the ground but in space it created floating elements around the sculpture.

It was activated as the ISS orbited at around 400 kilometers above the Earth. Meroz and Segal had predicted that the water might wrap around the structure, forming a liquid shell, but in practice it behaved quite differently, forming floating orbs.

"Impossible Object," by Liat Segal and Yasmine Meroz.

“Impossible Object,” by Liat Segal and Yasmine Meroz. Credit: Eytan Stibbe and Rakia Art Mission (Ramon Foundation)

“We didn’t know what the dynamics of water will be in microgravity — what does a piece of water look like?” said Segal. “We’re used to filling our hands with water, filling vessels. In this case the water isn’t held by any vessel. It’s only held by this skeleton structure.”

As artists get creative in space, Segal anticipates innovation.

“Many technologies were developed as a result of the space race, to accommodate for a new physical reality,” Segal added. “Now art and culture can enter this new physical reality. It will force the creation of things that we cannot expect, that could not happen otherwise.”

Jafri is also enthused about the creative possibilities and believes private space missions will open up new opportunities for artists. “I think people are tapping into people’s obsession with space,” he said. “It’s a new market for the art world to tap into.”

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Rich Russians’ Art Buying Is Target of US Crackdown on Trade-Sanction Cheats – BNN Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — The US crackdown on trade-sanction violators is turning to the art world as authorities track down works bought or sold by ultra-rich Russian tycoons.

Through a series of subpoenas, federal prosecutors in New York are demanding high-end auction houses in the US turn over years of records as they seek to determine if art was smuggled offshore or if proceeds from sales were transferred illegally, according to a person familiar with the investigation. 

Among those named in the subpoenas are sanctioned Russian tycoons Andrey Melnichenko, Viktor Vekselberg and Roman Abramovich, along with Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t yet public. The records requested of auction houses include any previous dealings with the men, according to the person, who didn’t disclose all the companies that were served subpoenas. 


Of the major auction houses contacted by Bloomberg, Christie’s International Plc said it “cooperates and complies fully with law enforcement as and when we are required to do so.” Phillips Auction House said it has measures in place “to ensure that no individual or institution targeted by sanctions are able to do business directly or indirectly through our salerooms.” Sotheby’s and Bonhams & Butterfields Auctioneers Corp. didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US has expanded sanctions targeting Russian businessmen and companies with ties to Vladamir Putin. That’s led to seizures of luxury assets, from a yacht in the South Pacific to art work in a French gallery. The US Justice Department also plans to seize a Greenwich Village townhouse linked to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Read more: Art Seized at US Homes Part of Crackdown on Wealthy Russians

With its search of auction houses, the department is looking to track down “professional sanctions evaders” — people who help the wealthy avoid restrictions and launder money. This month, prosecutors charged two men, including a former FBI special agent, with aiding Deripaska and violating sanctions.

According to Georges Lederman, an attorney who specializes art crime and asset forfeiture cases, the crackdown has been the result of greater coordination between the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees the sanctions list, and prosecutors trying to stop money laundering. 

“In the past if you violated a sanction, you got a big fine and then you had to implement a more sophisticated anti-money laundering program,” Lederman said. “But now, because of Russia sanctions and heightened awareness, there is a greater referral of money laundering prosecutions.”

In recent months, prosecutors in Manhattan have narrowed the focus of their inquiries, asking about specific artworks bought years ago, as well as some real estate, according to the person familiar with the matter. The probe is being led by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York and the federal KleptoCapture task force, which was set up to police Russian sanctions. A spokesman for KleptoCapture declined to comment. 

$50 Million Monet

Fertilizer tycoon Melnichenko, with a net worth estimated at $12.7 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is said to have purchased Monet’s “Le Bassin aux Nympheas” for 40.9 million pounds ($49.6 million) in 2009. Abramovich is Russia’s second-largest steelmaker and previously owned London’s Chelsea Football Club. His ex wife, Daria Zhukova, was a Russian art collector. 

KleptoCapture’s lead prosecutor Andrew Adams told the NYC Bar Association in November that his team was focused on taking “assets off the table” before they could be moved to other jurisdictions.

One such alleged facilitator was UK businessman Graham Bonham-Carter, who was indicted in October and accused of trying to transfer artwork owned by Deripaska, who is under US sanctions. Using a shell company, Deripaska purchased 18 pieces of art at a New York auction in 2008, a decade before he was sanctioned, according to an indictment. The art works were kept in a New York storage facility until Bonham-Carter allegedly try to ship them out of the country in 2021. 

Bonham-Carter is fighting extradition from the UK to the US to face charges. 

In the wake of a 2020 Senate report on sanctions evasion in the art world, major auction houses and private sellers started including as a standard condition in contracts that the buyer or seller not be sanctioned or engaged in criminal activity, said Thomas C. Danziger, a New York-based attorney specializing in art law.

The leading auction houses have implemented voluntary anti-money laundering programs, but that may not be enough to prevent the true owners of art works from shielding themselves themselves behind webs of corporate structures or relatives.

“Putin’s banker is unlikely to walk into a gallery on Madison Avenue and buy a Picasso,” Danziger said. 

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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St. John's International Airport Unveils New Art Installation – VOCM



St. John’s International Airport has unveiled a brand new art installation to welcome arriving passengers.

The piece, Art Upon Arrival, includes 24 illustrations on eight structural columns in the arrivals area are adorned with brightly colored, graphic images that harken to all things St John’s such as food, plants, nature and music.

Artist Molly Margaret says after an extended period working on the project it’s fun to see public reaction to the piece.


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