Some of the MIA’s previous exhibitions have included:
Using medium as a starting point, this exhibition explored works produced in the Nunavut community of Sanikiluaq. As a small, island community with close cultural ties to Nunavik, artistic expression in Sanikiluaq takes on a variety of subjects using both argillite and the revived tradition of basketmaking.
New Acquisitions: Drawings from the Kivalliq
This exhibition looked at the museum’s collecting practices by seeing some of the museum’s most recently acquired works: drawings by Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok of Arviat and Ruth Annaqtuusi of Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake). Visitors were invited to consider why the works have been selected for the museum’s permanent collection and provide their own curatorial assessments.
The Art of Play (2013-2014)
This exhibition examined contemporary game-play primarily as it relates to Inuit, but also in a wider context. We looked back at the history of game-play in the Arctic and also at non-Inuit games that have helped to define modern concepts of the form. We asked these questions: Are (all) games art? Are these traditions of play different? And if the answer(s) are yes, what does that mean?
This exhibition explored compelling new drawings from Kinngait (Cape Dorset). Featuring diverse works from established artists Tim Pitsiulak, Ningeokuluk Teevee, Qavavau Manumie and Shuvinai Ashoona, as well as newer voices Nicotye Samayualie and Pudlo Samajualie, Drawn invited viewers to explore these artist’s unique styles.
Malaya Akulukjuk (1915-1995) began to sculpt and draw in 1962 upon settling in Pangnirtung. Prior to that, she led a traditional life on the land. Well-regarded as a talented and prolific artist in Pangnirtung, her drawings were often selected for images for prints and tapestries. The exhibition highlights her working drawings and wall hangings, and tapestries based on her drawings. Rumoured to be a Shaman, Malaya drew many images of transformation and fantastical creatures full of mystery – some of which are featured in the exhibition.
Focus On...Birds in Inuit Art (May 1 to September 30, 2010)
The most popular subjects in Inuit art, birds are very compelling images for many artists, who depict them in all media. Birds symbolize seasonal bounty as over 100 species migrate to the Arctic each spring to hatch and raise their young. Birds in all their grace, beauty, and skill are portrayed in Inuit art as subjects in their own right, but they also feature prominently in depictions of Inuit myth and legend. They are frequently shown as participants in transformation and spirit imagery in Inuit sculptures, prints, drawings, and wall hangings.
Focus On...Caribou Antler Sculpture
Readily available, caribou antler is strong yet lightweight and can even be bent when heated, so it is versatile as a carving medium for art. Antler is often used in mixed-media works, and it’s branch-like tines make an ideal base for complex scenes. It also inspires many artists to create a variety of animal and spirit images.
Focus On...Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok
Tasseor’s semi-abstract stone carvings depicting her trademark faces and heads are easily recognizable. It is remarkable though, when you see them a group, how distinct each work is from the next, and how the shape, hardness and features of the stone help to determine the differences in each piece.
Inuit Dwellings: Past and Present (May 28 to September 30, 2010)
This exhibition was curated especially for 2010 Doors Open Toronto and the theme: architecture. The show features historic photos of dwellings of the past – igloos and their construction and a tupiq (summer hide tent) – as well as photos of modern-day buildings in the Arctic. The art, both sculptures and prints, depict the traditional igloo and tupiq as well as the qarmaq, a more permanent house with stone or sod walls and a hide roof. In stark contrast is Annie Pootoogook’s print Interior/Exterior illustrating a typical modern-day house and Kananginak Pootoogook’s Untitled (Houses in Cape Dorset), the current view of the landscape.
Kanaginak Pootoogook: Celebrating Five Decades of Artistic Achievement (February 15 to May 31, 2010)
The opening/vernissage of this exhibition took place at the MIA on March 28, 2010. Fresh from receiving the 2010 National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the Arts in Regina on March 26, 2010, Kananginak was at the opening along with his wife, Shooyoo. Jimmy Manning accompanied Kananginak and translated for him.
Big, Bold, and Beautiful: Large-scale drawings from Kinngait (Cape Dorset) (2010)
Drawing as an art form blossomed in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) and Qamanittuaq (Baker Lake) in the 1970s, but drawings were not widely exhibited until the 1980s. In the past decade, some younger Kinngait artists have also begun pushing the boundaries of Inuit art with their drawings. Many of these artists enjoy working on a larger scale as they explore both traditional and modern themes. The eclectic styles and drawing media reflect each artist’s personal aesthetic, visual influences, and psychological state.
Inuit Dolls from Kivalliq (October 15 to December 31, 2009)
This traveling exhibition circulated by the Burnaby Art Gallery and curated by Darrin Martens features contemporary dolls from all communities of the Kivalliq (Keewatin): Arviat, Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Rankin Inlet, Repulse Bay, and Whale Cove. These works were created during workshops organized by the Tarralikitaaq Arts Society in 2007 and were subsequently exhibited at the Kivalliq Inuit Doll Festival in Rankin Inlet.
The Inuit Sea Goddess (August 15, 2009 to January 15, 2010)
This special exhibition focuses on the story of the Inuit Sea Goddess, one of the most powerful creatures in Inuit myth and legend – a compelling subject for Inuit artists working in all media. This exhibition outlines some of the fascinating regional variations of the Sea Goddess story, and presents visual representations—in sculpture and graphics—by Inuit artists from across Canada’s Arctic.
James Houston: Artist, Author, and Inuit Art Pioneer (2009)
James Archibald Houston was born in Toronto and educated at the Ontario College of Art (now known as the Ontario College of Art and Design). He spent 12 years in the Arctic during which time he introduced printmaking to the Inuit artists, and Inuit art to the world. A man of many talents, Houston was an artist and prolific writer: he authored children’s stories, memoirs, novels, art catalogues and many articles. The Houston display will include selections of his art, books, manuscript materials, articles, artifacts and Inuit art created during Houston’s time in the Arctic.
The Combs of our Ancestors (April 4 to June 7, 2009)
This exhibition shows the evolution – from idea to completion – of a magnificent new tapestry from the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts Tapestry Studio in Pangnirtung, Nunavut. This tapestry depicts the image of three combs of ancient origin found in an archeological dig. Combs of our Ancestors was designed by the acclaimed graphic artist Germaine Arnaktauyok (originally from Igloolik and now living in Yellowknife), whose original drawing for the tapestry forms part of the exhibition.