November 1, 2017 – January 27, 2018
Works by Roger Aksadjuak, Shuvinai Ashoona, Pierre Aupilardjuk, Shary Boyle, Jessie Kenalogak, John Kurok & Leo NapayokCurated by Shary Boyle & Shauna Thompson
We are of the earth and from the stars, cooked mud and pigmented wax, soot and soda, ink, wood, tobacco, fur, fire, bronze, and acrylic nails – mortal inhabitants of the earth dreaming of our spiritual or extraterrestrial foil. Drawn from this framework of earthly conditions, the visionary ceramics and works on paper of Earthlings, produced both individually and collaboratively by seven contemporary artists, are at once transformative and otherworldly – and profoundly human.
Though making work from distinct cultural and geographical positions – from Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet, Kinngait/Cape Dorset, Qamani'tuaq/Baker Lake, and Toronto – the artists in Earthlings share an intuitive and labour-intensive approach to materials and narrative imagery. In these works, detailed figures are subject to transformations and transmogrifications, hybrid blendings of animal and human, reality and myth, and actual and imagined spaces. These pieces seem to emerge from phantasmagorical worlds, simultaneously fleshly and physical, sensual and spiritual, alien and familiar.
About the Artists
Roger Aksadjuak’s work is complex, inventive, and embraces multiple forms and playful imagery while respecting traditional narratives. It can be found in many public and private collections across North America, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery. He passed away in 2014.
Shuvinai Ashoona is a contemporary Kinngait artist whose work often combines reality and the imaginative. Ashoona’s work is in numerous collections of major art institutions, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and Winnipeg Art Gallery, among others.
Pierre Aupilardjuk’s style of work represents his strong roots in a traditional aesthetic and are included in the ceramics collection of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center, Yellowknife; the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; as well as in private collections throughout North America. He lives and works in Kangiqliniq.
Shary Boyle lives in Toronto and works across diverse media, including sculpture, drawing, installation and performance. Collected and exhibited internationally, Boyle represented Canada with her project Music for Silence at the Venice Biennale in 2013. In 2017 her sculptures were featured at South Korea’s Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, and in the Phaidon, UK publication Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art. Boyle’s first public art commission will be installed Spring 2018 on the front grounds of the Gardiner Ceramic Museum in Toronto.
Jessie Kenalogak was born in Back River in the early 1950s and currently lives and works in Qamani'tuaq. Working primarily in drawing, her most meaningful artistic influences came from her grandfather Angushadluk, one of the most important and respected artists ever to work in Qamani'tuaq, and her aunt, Mary Singaqti, another highly respected Qamani'tuaq artist.
John Kurok began working full-time as a Kangiqliniq ceramist in 1996 and is one of a new group of younger ceramicists who also work as printmakers. Kurok's work is included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Museum of Inuit Art, Toronto.
Born in the early sixties, Leo Napayok spent most of his time growing up in the towns of Salliq and Kangiqliniq. He works as a carver in soapstone, ivory, and antler and has long been established as one of the region’s most talented carvers. His collaborative works have since become a part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.