Last week, the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) honours the achievements of museum professionals at its 2018 national conference in Vancouver, BC. A total of 22 awards were presented during a special awards ceremony, held at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel, on Thursday April 12. Among the award recipients in the Outstanding Achievement category was Heather Igloliorte’s SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut, jointly published by Goose Lane Editions and the Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador, winning the award in the education category. SakKijâjuk is available in English, French, and Inuktitut.
Chaired by David Silcox, these awards recognize exceptional museum projects. This year, 12 Awards of Outstanding Achievement were presented.
The Canadian Museums Association is the national organization for the advancement of Canada’s museum community. The CMA works for the recognition, growth and stability of the sector. Canada’s 2,600 museums and related institutions preserve our collective memory, shape our national identity and promote tolerance and understanding.
For countless generations, the artists and craftspeople of Nunatsiavut, an Inuit region of Labrador, have produced work that is distinctive within the world of Canadian and circumpolar Inuit art. Yet for decades, the Labrador Inuit were excluded from this canon. SakKijâjuk—”to be visible” in the Nunatsiavut dialect of Inuktitut—is the first major publication on the distinctive and innovative work of the contemporary artists and craftspeople of this region.
The coastal people of Nunatsiavut have always lived above and below the tree line. As a result, Inuit artists and craftspeople of the region have had access to a diverse range of Arctic and Subarctic flora and fauna from which they have produced a stunningly diverse range of work.
In this magnificent book and the accompanying exhibition, writer-curator Heather Igloliorte seeks to cast a light on the artistic practice of Nunatsiavut, bringing together for the first time the work of 47 Nunatsiavummiut artists and artisans. Igloliorte (Inuit, Nunatsiavut Territory of Labrador) is an assistant professor and Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement at Concordia University in Montreal. Her research interests centre on Inuit and other Native North American visual and material culture, circumpolar art studies, performance and media art, the global exhibition of Indigenous arts and culture, and issues of colonization, sovereignty, resistance and resilience. In this collection, innovative drawings, paintings, photographs and sculpture are presented beside more traditional work employing wood, fur, hide, stone and seagrass. The work of Elders and artistic forerunners is presented beside that of a new generation of artists.
Published to coincide with the first-ever national touring exhibition of Inuit art from Nunatsiavut, organized by The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery of St. John’s and scheduled to be shown at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, SakKijâjuk examines the long history of artistic production in Nunatsiavut. Focusing on the post-Confederation era and highlighting many new critical forms of contemporary art and craft production, the volume is divided into four major sections (Elders, Trailblazers, Fire Keepers and the Next Generation), spanning four generations of artistic practice. Featuring more than 80 large-scale reproductions, the book features work from major public and private collections, as well as a number of exciting new works never before seen in print.