Irene Avaalaaqiaq: Myth and Reality
March 23 to June 30, 2012
Irene Avaalaaqiaq has enjoyed a distinguished thirty-year career as one of Canada’s most prominent Inuit artists and a leading member of the prolific artistic community of Baker Lake, Nunavut. A creator of distinctive drawings, prints, and sculpture, she is best known for her remarkable wall hangings, which reveal a rich tradition of shamanistic imagery. Avaalaaqiaq also brings a highly individualistic vision to her tapestries. Her world view, derived from an oral tradition, is expressed by manipulating bold shapes in bright, contrasting colours against a solid background.
Born in the Kazan River area of Nunavut and orphaned at early age, Avaalaaqiaq spent the first years of her life in relative isolation, learning to sew caribou clothing from her grandmother. After moving to Baker Lake in 1958, she used this skill to create her celebrated wall hangings.
Organized and circulated by the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Myth and Reality is the first critical retrospective of Avaalaaqiaq's work. Here, exhibition curator Judith Nasby focuses on the artist’s life and art, as well as her commitment to preserving her heritage and making it accessible to an international audience. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition.