IAS 2014 Annual Meeting – October 10-12,
Pulling Back the Curtain on the Future of Inuit Art: What Every Buyer & Seller Needs to Know
Eiteljorg Museum Of American Indians and Western Art Indianapolis, IN
IAS Society Members and Non-Members Welcome!
The world of Inuit art is changing. The elders are largely gone. Now what?
Younger carvers seem to be focusing on “what sells” to mass audiences, yet
beautiful, original, quality pieces are still being produced. This year’s annual
conference takes a hard look at what this means to you, the collector.
The IAS has once again put together a group of speakers who will guide and
energize your collecting activities.
Looking Towards the Future
Opening the conference on Friday evening will be Douglas George, Consul General of Canada, who will address Canada’s Northern Strategy: Meeting the Challenges and Opportunities of a Changing North. His Friday evening presentation and following reception will be accompanied by an exhibition of contemporary photographs of the Canadian Arctic.
Hearing What the Dealers Have to Say
• Tom Webster, owner/operator of the Iqaluit Fine Arts Studio in Iqaluit (the largest city and territorial capital of Nunavut), has spent four decades in the Arctic. The breadth and depth of Tom’s knowledge of how the Inuit art scene has evolved is extensive. While he acknowledges that what many collectors call quality art is getting harder to find, great work is still being produced.
• Ingo Hessel, Director of Inuit Art, Walker’s Auctions, Ottawa, CA, presents the growing electronic dimension of acquiring and selling Inuit art via auction. He will share the ins and outs of how this is done and why the auction process is a credible, cost-effective way to grow your collection with quality pieces.
• Eliot Waldman, owner/operator of Native Art Traders, Skokie, IL, will help you understand the valuation process for insurance and inheritance purposes as pieces in general and by specific artists may have increased in value over time.
It is always a bonus to have a native artist join conference participants and this year will be no different. 2014 program chair, IAS Board President, Lou Jungheim, is in the process of finalizing travel arrangements for Pootoogook Qiatsuk, a widely exhibited, multi-dimensional artist who creates prints, sculpture, and jewelry. His work was included in the 1989 “Masters of the Arctic” exhibit that toured for many years. (Initial attempts to include native artists Jimmy Manning and Pootoogook’s brother, Palaya, were unsuccessful.) Watch for a separate announcement with more details on Pootoogook’s background and art demonstration.
Other Meeting Highlights
The Biggest Marketplace Ever!!
Looking to add to your collection? You will certainly find that special piece at the largest IAS conference trunk show ever with over 300 pieces of Inuit sculpture and prints from Iqaluit Fine Arts (Nunavut) and Native Art Traders (Chicago).
Learn About the Rebirth of the IAF and IAQ
The Inuit Art Foundation and its quarterly magazine, the Inuit Art Quarterly, decided to shut its doors in 2012. However, strong support, including a plea from Kenojuak Ashevak herself, has lead to its rebirth. Learn more about their plans direct from IAF board member and IAS conference speaker, Ingo Hessel. (A copy of the IAQ’s inaugural issue memorializing Kenojuak will be distributed to all attendees.)
House Tour! House Tour!
Back by popular demand, and because all collectors love to look at others’ collections, you will have the opportunity to visit the Indianapolis home of IAS President, Lou Jungheim, and his wife, Thalia Nicas, and see their eclectic collection of Inuit and First Nations art of the Pacific Northwest.
Saturday Evening Group Dinner
Rub shoulders with fellow collectors. Make new friends. Share your collecting stories. Show off what you just bought at the Marketplace. Enjoy great food….it will be at McCormick & Schmick Restaurant, known for their seafood and steak.
Annual IAS Meeting
Open to all conference attendees, this is a great opportunity to share your thoughts, suggestions, and even criticisms with the IAS Board. Have an idea for a future meeting? A great speaker or native artist? Let your voice be heard.
The IAS is honored to partner with the Eiteljorg Museum of American
Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, IN. The Society had its initial
meeting there when it was founded in 2002 and has enjoyed the use of the
Eiteljorg for three additional annual conferences since then.
We would also like to acknowledge the generous support for this meeting provided by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., an Indianapolis-based philanthropic foundation. http://www.lillyendowment.org/
Registration information for both members and non-members of the IAS should be obtained from IAS Membership Chair, Thalia Nicas, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Saturday banquet will be held at McCormick and Schmick’s Restaurant, 110 N. Illinois St. Indianapolis, conveniently located 0.35 miles from the conference hotels.
A block of hotel rooms have been reserved at sister hotels (with a shared parking lot) located approximately 0.35 miles from the Eiteljorg Museum meeting site. Details:
Courtyard by Marriot at the Capitol, 320 N. Senate Ave. Indianapolis, IN
Rate $125/night +17% tax and $19/day parking, does not include breakfast 317-684-7733
Residence Inn by Marriot Downtown on the Canal 350 W. New York St. Indianapolis, IN. Rate $135/night +17% tax and $19/day parking, includes breakfast for 2 adults 317-822-0840
To get this rate you must book by September 10, 2014 and tell them you are with the “Inuit Art Institute” (we tried to get that corrected to Society, to no avail)
Passing of well-known Cape Dorset sculptor – Oviloo Tunnillie
1949 – 2014
It is with overwelming sadness that we announce the death of Oviloo Tunnillie.
Oviloo was recognized as one of Canada’s greatest sculptors. Her carvings were distinguished by her use of solid forms and emotional gestures. Oviloo was a strong voice for women and often referenced her own personal history of grief, suffering and profound meditation in her work. Throughout her career she had several successful solo shows and was always a prominent inclusion in any exhibition devoted to Inuit women. Many of her exhibitions have been extensively catalogued and her work is in many prominent museums and collections.
She will be missed by her family, her many friends and all those who have been touched by her work. (our thanks to Mark London, Elca London Gallery, for this timely notice)
Article by Phil Power, President & Founder of the Center for Michigan.
Members will remember the opening session at our 2010 meeting at Cranbrook, where Mr Power and John Houston recalled the early days of contemporary Inuit art. Mr. Power and his wife recently revisited Cape Dorset, and he has published an article on his experience and reminiscences: http://bridgemi.com/2014/04/
Annual Meeting 2013 – Wrapup
The 2013 Inuit Art Society Meeting was held at the Double Tree Hilton in Skokie, Illinois, from October 25-27, 2013.
(Our thanks to board members Marie McCosh for her summary of the annual meeting and Si Gilman for his photos.)
The conference opened Friday with registration check-in with time to visit the Marketplace where there were three separate tables set up. Eliot Waldman (Native Art Traders) had a wonderful selection of Inuit art. Tony Weyiouanna, Sr., had a varied selection of arts and crafts that he and his wife brought with them from Shishmaref, Alaska. And Sheila Romalis had a few items she was selling from her brother’s estate as well as materials promoting her upcoming trip to east Greenland in the summer of 2014.
Friday evening we all gathered at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston. Lou Jungheim, President, welcomed everyone and officially opened the conference. Leslie Boyd Ryan, editor of Cape Dorset Prints: A Retrospective, and a long-time West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative employee, then presented “Northern Lights: Kenojuak Ashevak and Kananginak Pootoogook – A Tribute to Two Luminaries of Canadian Inuit Art.” She included slides of their works and pictures of them. She spoke of her experiences knowing and working with them as well as of their art. It was a very interesting and personal account of two great artists. Following Leslie’s presentation we had a dessert reception and a chance to look at the Mitchell Museum’s collections.
Saturday morning Tony Weyiouanna, Sr., an Inupiat artist from Shishmaref, Alaska, gave a presentation, “A Cry for Help in the Snow.” Shishmaref is a community of about 600 people on a barrier island off the Seward Peninsula. Tony described the plight that Shishmaref faces – large amounts of erosion with every storm, temperatures rising, permafrost melting. In 1997 they lost 125 feet of beach in one single storm. They have put in some barriers to try to slow down the erosion. However, ultimately the village of Shishmaref will have to be relocated. Tony is working on a Strategic Plan for Relocation. They are trying to get state and federal help. The estimate is that it will cost $180 million to move the community. The island has no fresh water. Snow catch and harvesting ice provide the drinking water for the community. The proposed site for the new community is about 4 miles inland.
The next speaker was Charles W. Shabica, emeritus Professor of Environmental Science and President of Shabica and Associates, a coastal consulting firm that specializes in the design and engineering of sustainable beaches, wetlands, ravines, and harbors. He gave a very interesting and insightful presentation, “Coping with the Coast – Risks and Benefits of Living on the Edge.” Twenty-five percent of the world’s barrier islands are in the Arctic Ocean. As the sea level rises, they are all in danger. However, many of them are not inhabited. He emphasized the necessity of having a plan. And he stressed the importance of writing down the plan. He praised Tony and his community because they have a plan. He also said that any plan is constantly in flux.
Tony then returned to discuss “Shishmaref Native Art – A Tradition to Continue.” Tony was an art major when he was in college. He used to barter art at the community store for food. Shishmaref is not a whaling community, so he scavenged the beach looking for bones. He gave a very interesting talk and slide show of his work and that of other artists in his community. He discussed labrets, little insets below the mouth depicted on many pieces. They indicate wealth. Someone without a labret is “not so good.” Someone with one labret is “a pretty good hunter,” and someone with two is “a good hunter and maybe has two wives.” He stressed that life on Shishmaref is a subsistence existence. They have bearded seal and some walrus, but no whale. They must buy or trade for large bones for carving.
After lunch Tony introduced the 2008 documentary film The Last Days of Shishmaref, which was then shown. It is a well-done portrayal of life on Shishmaref, taking the viewer inside homes and the lives (eating, hunting, games, etc.) of the Inupiat living there.
Following the film and a short break the IAS held its annual Business Meeting, introducing our new and reelected board members and discussing a variety of organizational matters.
In the evening there was a reception for members and guest speakers, followed by a delicious dinner, all at the Doubletree Hilton in Skokie.
Sunday morning we all went to the Allen Center at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. There we were greeted by Donald P. Jacobs, Dean Emeritus of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. He told the story of how he strongly believed in lifelong learning and designed the Allen Center for continuing management education. And since he spent more time there than he did at home it made sense to him to have his Inuit art collection housed at the Allen Center.
Norman Zepp, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, then spoke about “Inuit Art – Then and Now.” He described the role of art in contemporary Inuit culture. He stated that the Inuit are a traditional people, although they are no longer tied to the land. They deal with social issues, political issues, alienation and disconnect in their art. He also spoke about how the materials that were available influenced the type or style of art that was created. For example, the minimalist style of carving in Baker Lake reflects that the stone used is very hard, unlike the serpentine or soapstone used in other communities. As the environment or exposure to new influences changes, the subject of the art also changes. One can now find snowmobiles or televisions as the subject of prints or sculptures. Norman said that although all art is made to sell, the Inuit are very proud of their art.
Following Norman’s talk we broke into small groups to view Dean Jacobs’ impressive Inuit collection displayed at the Allen Center. It includes 54 prints (50 from Cape Dorset, four from Pangnirtung) and about 35 substantial sculptures, again mostly from Baffin Island carvers. This was the conclusion of the 2013 annual meeting.
Meet Our Current President
My interest in Inuit art was kindled in 1983 while attending a chemistry conference in Waterloo, Ontario. The university there had a small gallery and I fell in love with a whale sculpture on display.
Read Lou’s Full Bio
Being a member of the Inuit Art Society means connecting with other Inuit art enthusiasts, enriching your knowledge and experience of Inuit art, and supporting Inuit artists. » Become a member today!