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Textile Museum exhibition celebrates an oft-overlooked strand of Inuit art history – The Globe and Mail

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The Printed Textiles from Kinngait Studios installation at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto.

Darren Rigo

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.

Spirits and Birds, by artist Pudlo Pudlat.

Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts

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.)

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Parr’s People, by artist Parr.

Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts./Dorset Fine Arts

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.

Camp Scene, by Anna Kingwatsiak.

Reproduced with permission by Dorset Fine Arts

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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Artists sought for Five Corners public art project in downtown Chilliwack – BCLocalNews

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The City of Chilliwack is looking for artists to submit their ideas for a new piece of public art to be installed at Five Corners.

The city issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the Five Corners Public Art Project on Jan. 11. The future artwork will be situated outside the front entrance of 46115 Yale Rd., located at the northeast corner of the intersection.

“The successful proponent will create and install public art that will add value to the cultural, aesthetic and economic vitality of the downtown core of Chilliwack,” reads the RFP document.

The proposed public art must:

• Fit in a footprint of 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres

• Be no more than 3 metres high

• Must be able to be illuminated

• Installation must be able to stand up to graffiti, natural elements

• Footprint must be secured to ensure the piece’s integrity and public safety

• Not impede traffic (ie must not be reflective)

RELATED: Public art stands tall in roundabout at Vedder Bridge in Chilliwack

RELATED: Photos of inaugural 2020 Chilliwack Mural Festival

“The goal of the Five Corners Public Art Installation is to increase foot traffic on the street, animate Chilliwack’s historic downtown and draw attention to Chilliwack as a vital municipality which promotes arts, culture and tourism.”

There will be a mandatory virtual site meeting through Zoom on Friday, Jan. 22 at 8 a.m. Proposals will not be accepted by the city from proponents who do not attend the meeting. (Link to Zoom meeting at end of story.)

Proposals can be submitted electronically (preferred) or as a hard copy. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m.Submissions must include a technical proposal and a financial proposal. Electronic submissions are to be emailed to bids@chilliwack.com; hard copy proposals are to be delivered to:

RFP – “Five Corners Public Art”

City of Chilliwack

8550 Young Rd.

Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 8A4

CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT OPEN

The successful proponent will be notified within 30 days of the Feb. 17 closing date.

Further information on the Five Corners Public Art Project can be found on the city’s website: Five Corners Project document and mandatory virtual site meeting via Zoom.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com

Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

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Public invited to take part in Black History Month art project – Chatham Daily News

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Article content

The Thames Art Gallery and ARTspace will celebrate Black History Month this February by inviting the community to contribute to an artwork project.

For centuries, people of African descent have confronted and continue to confront prejudice and inequity, the gallery stated, with systemic barriers still preventing full and equal participation in society.

“Almost nine months after George Floyd’s death, the rise of Black Lives Matter, and C-K’s own peaceful march down King Street, we want to keep carrying it forward,” said gallery curator Phil Vanderwall in a release.

“Creativity can help us to confront and overcome our challenges. Art can help us create the world we want to live in and what better way to focus our energies than to join together as a community and participate in a positive vision for 2021?”

“Celebrating Black Lives” is the theme of this digitally based installation. Anyone who wishes to participate can complete a work of art on the theme in any media. Feel free to paint, draw, design, or write.

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Artists sought for Five Corners public art project in downtown Chilliwack – Chilliwack Progress

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The City of Chilliwack is looking for artists to submit their ideas for a new piece of public art to be installed at Five Corners.

The city issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the Five Corners Public Art Project on Jan. 11. The future artwork will be situated outside the front entrance of 46115 Yale Rd., located at the northeast corner of the intersection.

“The successful proponent will create and install public art that will add value to the cultural, aesthetic and economic vitality of the downtown core of Chilliwack,” reads the RFP document.

The proposed public art must:

• Fit in a footprint of 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres

• Be no more than 3 metres high

• Must be able to be illuminated

• Installation must be able to stand up to graffiti, natural elements

• Footprint must be secured to ensure the piece’s integrity and public safety

• Not impede traffic (ie must not be reflective)

RELATED: Public art stands tall in roundabout at Vedder Bridge in Chilliwack

RELATED: Photos of inaugural 2020 Chilliwack Mural Festival

“The goal of the Five Corners Public Art Installation is to increase foot traffic on the street, animate Chilliwack’s historic downtown and draw attention to Chilliwack as a vital municipality which promotes arts, culture and tourism.”

There will be a mandatory virtual site meeting through Zoom on Friday, Jan. 22 at 8 a.m. Proposals will not be accepted by the city from proponents who do not attend the meeting. (Link to Zoom meeting at end of story.)

Proposals can be submitted electronically (preferred) or as a hard copy. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m.Submissions must include a technical proposal and a financial proposal. Electronic submissions are to be emailed to bids@chilliwack.com; hard copy proposals are to be delivered to:

RFP – “Five Corners Public Art”

City of Chilliwack

8550 Young Rd.

Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 8A4

CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT OPEN

The successful proponent will be notified within 30 days of the Feb. 17 closing date.

Further information on the Five Corners Public Art Project can be found on the city’s website: Five Corners Project document and mandatory virtual site meeting via Zoom.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

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