Inuit Amautiit Highlighted in new WAG Exhibition
Inuit women rank among the most innovative and skilled craftspeople in the world, and a new exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery shows you why. Annuraat: Inuit Clothing in Art opens on April 16, continuing until October 9.
The highlight of the show are three stunning beaded amautiit (women’s parkas) that have recently been donated to the WAG. The amautik takes its name from the amaut, the carrying pouch located in the back of the parka designed to carry a baby. The broad shoulders of the amautik permit an infant carried in the pouch to be slipped over the mother’s shoulder to breast-feed while being protected under the parka. While everyday amauitit were generally quite utilitarian, the special occasion parkas, like the ones in this exhibition, would be lavishly decorated with wolf or fox fur, colourful beads, and shiny metal like coins or bowls of spoons.
“Until the early part of the 20th century, the style of Inuit clothing was determined by region, and these regional variations reflect a wide variety of influences,” says Darlene Coward Wight, Curator of Inuit Art. “Modern day evolution in clothing styles and materials has taken place as a result of outside influence and increased opportunities for travel among Inuit. Today the use of skin clothing has waned and the Inuit parka is most often made of imported duffel and covered with an outer shell of cotton drill or nylon. However, traditional and regional styles are still a significant part of Inuit culture and are represented in contemporary Inuit art.”
This becomes evident in comparing various artworks included in this exhi¬bition. Dolls, sculptures and graphics from communities throughout the North all reveal both traditional styles as well as more recent influences.
Exhibition Tour • Wed, May 11, 12:10pm • with Darlene Coward Wight, Curator of Inuit Art
Approaching its centenary in 2012, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is Canada’s oldest civic art gallery and Manitoba’s leading visual arts institution. With a collection of over 24,000 objects spanning many centuries and cultures – including the world’s largest collection of contemporary Inuit art – the WAG is constantly moving between the historical and the contemporary in an effort to engage a growing public with the power of art in our lives.
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