Exploring the North

Art history/ Historiography, Crafts, Handlooms, Art

Exploring the North: The Crafts of the North American Tundra

McComb, Jessie F.

As winter settles down upon my quiet New England hometown and I observe the most recent snow that has fallen on our streets and sidewalks, I can't help but think of those living further north where the wind blows colder and the days are only too brief. Recently, the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Massachusetts, displayed an exhibit of craft, art and film from Inuit people in the arctic north, in their gallery space created specifically for rotating installations of Native America art. And on a blustery winter day in late December, I had the fortunate experience of stumbling onto this exhibit. The exhibit, titled Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic, is the first major exhibition of art and craft from the Canadian territory of Nunavut, which lies in northwest North America just inside the Arctic Circle. Nunavut, created in 1999 after the Canadian government reformulated its territories, spans from the Hudson Bay to the North Pole and houses ecologies that range from barren vistas to mountains to the silent but lively oceans. These harsh yet beautiful conditions act as only a part of the inspiration for Inuit art in Nunavut. Our Land was born from a collaboration between the Peabody Essex Museum, the Government of Canada and the Government of Nunavut's Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, and is part of an on-going series at the Peabody Essex Museum that focuses on Native American art and culture. This series also falls in line with the museums commitment "to forging partnerships with Native American artists through projects suc...
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