The Intriguing, Intelligent, and Intricate Inuit Art Exhibit

Intriguing:

Upon entering the Leak Room of Duke Hall here on Guilford’s campus this past Wednesday evening, I had a vague idea of what the talk preceding the official opening of our latest art exhibit would consist of – The anonymous Guilford family currently sharing a graciously large number of pieces from their vast Inuit art collection would speak briefly, show a few slides, and we would be on our merry way over to the art gallery for some scrumptious food…Boy,what an understatement!

The collectors’ passionate words revealed how attached they’d become to the Inuit people during their travels to Nunavut, the northernmost territory of Canada, and brought us to the brink of tears before lifting us back up with laughter. They spoke of how they still keep in daily contact with some of the people they’ve met and had exciting stories to share about the artists who created what we can see in our very own art gallery.

I was delighted to see not only students and faculty whom I recognized, but a wide variety of visitors as well, showing our presence in the art scene is vast!

Intelligent:

This exhibit will be a very valuable reference for many Guilford classes, including those of non-artistic focus. Because the art is showcased alongside photographs of the Inuit people and artists who created the pieces, I can see how those in sociology and anthropology would benefit from taking even the most minuscule of peeks at the exhibit, and it’s a no-brainer that Guilfordian art students will greatly enjoy and benefit from this incredible show. Be sure to look for the upcoming talks by our very own Eric Mortensen from the Religious Studies department on September 11th and October 24th.

Intricate:

The artwork showcased in the exhibit is very complex. There are many stone carvings that I marveled at because of how small they were. There are teeth no longer than a fingernail and no wider than a pencil tip inside a stone mouth of a delicately carved animal that you could hold easily with room to spare in the palm of your hand. Abstract prints and repetitive wall hangings aren’t what I would normally enjoy personally, but I felt more connected to even those pieces I would usually skim over after hearing from the collectors and feeling their excitement – it really can change your perspective after hearing it firsthand.

“Inuit Art: Narratives from a Culture in Transition” will be open until December 15th, 2013.

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Things to look forward to:

  • Eric Mortensen’s two lectures in the Art Gallery – “Sedna: Inuit Goddess of the Sea” on 9/11/ from 2:30 – 3:30pm AND “Circumpolar Shamanism” on 10/24 from 7:00 – 8:00pm.
  • Aaju Peter’s presentation in the Carnegie Room on 9/20 at 7:30pm.
  • Marie Bouchard’s lecture “Off the Wall: Baker Lake Inuit Textile Art” on 11/1 at 7:30pm in the Leak Room.
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