The owl print or the soapstone walrus have become so fixed in the Canadian imagination it may be difficult to consider Inuit art as something other than inevitable. The West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (as it has been called since its inception) celebrated its 60th year in 2019, and the anniversary programming includes an exhibit devoted to Kenojuak Ashevak that will be touring the country in 2020. That survey includes rare drawings, the artist’s original images of the bears, birds and mystical figures so familiar from the popular prints. But an exhibition of early silkscreened and block-printed textiles from Cape Dorset (or Kinngait) at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto tells a less well-known story and forces a reconsideration of how 20th-century Inuit art began.
As the Canadian government forced a people living on the land into permanent settlements, the Inuit began to need cash. The art projects run by the Cape Dorset co-op – the arm that would become Kinngait Studios – were initially introduced by government agents. The idea was that the skills used to carve stone, incise bone and sew clothing could be adapted to produce handicrafts for southern markets. But carving and printmaking were just two possibilities: This show offers a wide selection of rarely seen textiles, startlingly modernist and highly colorful designs created in the 1950s and 60s.
The show, curated by Roxane Shaughnessy, includes a small selection of clothing and boots decorated with stitching and appliqué that gave rise to the idea Inuit artists might excel at designing textiles. And then it includes bolt after bolt of the striking fabrics: Before they became prints on paper, drawings by Cape Dorset artists were conceived as potential patterns for interior design or clothing. Just as the prints were not pulled by the artist themselves but by master printmakers using their drawings, the textiles were also printed in the co-op using imagery from drawings. (One of the key printers was Kananginak Pootoogook, who as a young man was instrumental in establishing the co-op and later became well-known for his own imagery.)
So a black drawing of a large goose with a dog and walrus by the artist Parr (who used only one name and is a key figure in the exhibition) becomes a pattern of brown and red geese on cotton sateen twill. Pitseolak Ashoona creates an image of an owl for a stonecut print that shows up again as a repeating figure on a bolt of linen. A photograph of Ashevak shows her wearing a dress with her own images of birds printed down the long, bell-shaped sleeves. Twenty-one artists are represented – most of whom are now dead – but some of the pieces are anonymous: This show is preserving an artistic history as fragile as the textiles themselves.
To contemporary eyes, the bold but simple patterns in strong yellows, pinks, reds and blues echo the familiar imagery of the prints, but also look distinctly modern. Indeed, the show has a powerful mid-century vibe that evokes Mary Quant or Marimekko as much as Ashevak or Pootoogook. The exoticism of these art fabrics made them hip at the time: The show includes a few commercial images of southern models wearing clothes printed with Kinngait imagery posing incongruously in the Arctic.
One Toronto company does still license the patterns – and there’s a new, bright yellow shirt offered as an example – but for the most part, the textile project foundered on the logistics of trying to produce hand-printed yardage in the North. Prints and carvings proved easier to make and sell.
Still, the current nostalgia for 20th-century design suggests southerners might now embrace Inuit textiles. A handful of contemporary examples speak to some continuity in the tradition. These include a cotton dress designed by Martha Kyak of InukChic with a richly coloured floral pattern on a dark ground and a shape based on the traditional amauti, or women’s parka, with its long tail coat. It’s a striking piece of clothing and more evidence of the complexities of Inuit art history.
Printed Textiles from Kinngait Studios continues through Aug. 30 at the Textile Museum of Canada.
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Water themes will be on display at art event in Lund – Powell River Peak
Self-described amphibiographer Terry L. Brown will be sharing his passion for the water through an aquatic video and photo presentation, and through a workshop, where interested parties can learn about photography and videography around the water.
As part of Ebb and Flow, a water-themed art show at Tidal Art Centre on Finn Bay Road in Lund, Brown will be showing photographs and videos he has taken around and under the water, with the showing on Thursday, August 18, at 7 pm.
“You don’t even have to get wet to enjoy viewing some of my wondrous videos and photos,” said Brown.
For the adventurous who want to learn some aquatic photography techniques, Brown is offering an in-water workshop on August 20, with a venue to be determined, depending on wind and wave conditions on the ocean.
“I’ve had some fascinating experiences in this amazing aquatic world and I love to share it with people,” said Brown.
Regarding the Ebb and Flow art show, Brown said he has four aquatic-themed photos as part of the display. He said his presentation at the art centre will showcase what he calls amphibiography.
“The images are at the interface of water, air and land,” said Brown. “There are still photos that are half above water and half under. There are video images that transition from underwater to above water. I will be showing videos and photos that evening and explaining how I get the images, for people who are interested in photography and underwater photography.
“Then, on Saturday, August 20, I’m offering a workshop for those people who want to participate in and practice some aquatic videos. It will be shallow water, either in the shallow ocean water if it’s not too windy and wavy, or, it will be in a lake if ocean conditions aren’t good.”
Breathe deep and dive shallow
This will be a snorkel event, not a scuba diving event.
Brown said most of his photography and videography is actually at or near the water’s surface.
“Most people think you have to go deep to get good stuff,” said Brown. “I do scuba dive but most of my work is close to the surface. It’s basically about as deep as the local pool. My motto is: breathe deep and dive shallow.
“Most of my work is with available light. I seldom use video lights or electronic flash. It’s very different when you see the critters underwater in available light in the way the light plays over them.”
Brown said the water itself is a prime photographic subject for him because it is constantly changing. He said one of the photos he has in the Ebb and Flow show is called River Vortex, which depicts whitewater rapids, but underwater.
“The water is swirling around and is creating a vortex,” said Brown. “It’s what it looks like from a fish’s eye view underwater.
“I do videos of rapids, also, where the water is pouring over rocks and curving around. It’s just the motion of the water and the shapes that water takes that is just spectacular.”
Brown said he had read in a book about the dancing curvaceousness of nature, and to him, that’s water.
“It’s constantly curving and moving and dancing and flowing,” said Brown. “I can shoot 10 minutes in one place and every second is different.”
He said his work is his prime passion in life.
“My motto is immersing you in wonder, and my passion is immersing people in this amazing world, so they fall in love with it,” he added. “Then, then can act out of that love to protect.”
Riches in ditches
Brown said he and his partner have chosen to live in the qathet region because of the opportunities afforded in both the incredible freshwater and saltwater here. He said people can even photograph in ditches and get great images.
“There’s riches in them ditches,” said Brown.
With photography or videography, there is always an expense involved, but Brown said it can be reasonable. He said if people have action cameras, like GoPros, videographers can get some “amazing stuff” with them. However, even smartphones can take great images if they are in waterproof housings.
“I’ll show people how they can get some fabulous stuff just dunking it,” said Brown. “You don’t even have to get really wet. You can just wade along the shore somewhere and dunk that underwater. I’ll show them how to make images that make people go ‘wow, what is that?’ It’s right at your feet.”
Brown said the in-water event will be a hands-on session. He said he will have an underwater video camera that people can do some video with but it’s great if they have their own equipment so they can use it and get the most out of it.
People don’t need to make reservations for the show at the Tidal Art Centre. They can just show up to the free presentation.
If people are interested in the workshop, they can contact Brown directly to let him know they will be in attendance. They can ask about equipment, or Brown can answer any questions that they have. There is no specific charge for the workshop, but after it is over, people can voluntarily leave an honorarium for him if they so choose.
“I don’t want to keep people away who might not be able to afford coming,” said Brown. “The theme is: get out and get wet. Explore your local liquid.
“I like helping people to be aware. So much of life we go through and we’re not aware of who or what is around us and what is right in front of us. Part of my mission is to help people become aware, and then to make that connection.”
For workshop participants, a mask and snorkel is essential and having a wetsuit or drysuit will allow more comfort and longer immersion time. Children with adult supervision are welcome.
People can contact Brown at 604.414.7883, or by email at email@example.com. For examples of Brown’s video work, go to amphibiographer.tv, and for still photos, they can go to terrylbrown.com.
“Water is a magical mystery place,” said Brown.
Tehran unveils Western art masterpieces hidden for decades – CityNews Toronto
Fake psychics helped woman steal $180M in art from elderly mom, police say – Global News
A Brazilian woman was arrested Wednesday after police found that she orchestrated an elaborate scheme to defraud her elderly mother out of precious works of art.
Sabine Coll Boghici, 48, is accused of using a ring of fraudulent psychics to swindle her mother, Genevieve Boghici, 82, out of around 724 million reais, or $180 million, in art, jewelry and money, according to a statement by police in Rio de Janeiro.
Police say the racket began in January 2020, when Genevieve, the widow of renowned Brazilian art collector Jean Boghici, was contacted by someone claiming to be a psychic who had seen a vision of her daughter Sabine’s death.
The phoney psychic then introduced her to other seers, who used personal information provided by Sabine to convince the elderly woman that their claims were real. The ring of psychics used their leverage to get money out of Genevieve for “spiritual treatment,” in order to save her daughter from her prophesied death, according to NBC News and the BBC.
The suspects were later alleged to have physically threatened the elderly woman and Sabine eventually kept her mother confined to the house after she became suspicious of the scheme.
Sabine and a psychic then began to take artwork from Genevieve’s house and told her that the paintings were cursed with negative energy that needed to be “prayed over,” said police officer Gilberto Ribeiro, according to Reuters.
Eventually, Genevieve sought help from the police, who uncovered the scheme.
At least 16 paintings were stolen from the elderly woman, police said, including works from celebrated Brazilian artists Cicero Dias, Rubens Gerchman and Alberto Guignard.
Three of the stolen paintings were works by famed modernist Tarsila do Amaral. Those three paintings alone were worth a reported 700 million reais, or just under $175 million.
Police say they have recovered 14 of the stolen paintings, having found 11 during a raid of the home of one of the accused psychics and three that were sold to an art gallery in Sao Paulo. At least two paintings have yet to be recovered, though, including pieces that were sold to a museum in Buenos Aires.
A video posted on Twitter by a local media outlet shows the moment one of Amaral’s paintings, Sol Poente (which means setting sun), was found inside a bed frame hidden under a mattress.
At least seven people were involved in the years-long plot, Reuters reported. Police said four were arrested, including Sabine, on Wednesday but the others remain at large.
The accused are facing charges of embezzlement, robbery, extortion, false imprisonment and criminal association.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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