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Judas Ullulaq (1937-1999, Inuit, Gjoa Haven (Uqsuquuq), Nunavut), Rearing Muskox Relieving Himself, 1998, stone, muskok horn, ivory, and sinew, 15 ¾ x 10 ½ inches. Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum.
Sep 05, 2008
throughNov 16, 2008

Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum

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On view at the Harnett Museum of Art from September 5 to November 16, 2008, Arctic Spiritpresents the rich artistic heritage of the Inuit of Arctic Canada, a people whose nomadic way of life was interrupted by the Western fur and whaling trade during the early 20th century. In the 1950s, Inuit hunters turned to sculpting, drawing, and printmaking to earn an income after the collapse of the whaling and trapping industries, with highly successful results. In some Inuit villages today, more than 20 percent of the adult population is employed in the art industry. Arctic Spirit gives an account of these people and their artwork, from the prehistoric carvings of their ancestors to experimental sculptures and prints created by some of Canada’s most famous artists.
About the Exhibition

The works featured in the exhibition also illustrate popular themes in Inuit art, which include nature and animals, everyday life, shamanism, and the supernatural. Inuit artists often tap into their cultural belief that humans are merely one part of a large and complex natural world. For example, animals such as the polar bear (nanuq) are thought to be near-human rivals of the Inuit. By weaving these traditional ideas into their work, Inuit artists have introduced their heritage and culture to the “southern” public, and have also preserved it for themselves during a period of rapid Westernization.

Organized by the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, the exhibition is a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment of the Arts. The exhibition was curated by Ingo Hessel, Albrecht Adjunct Curator of Inuit Art, the Heard Museum. An illustrated exhibition catalogue with an essay written by Hessel and published by the Heard Museum, is available for purchase.

Arctic Spirit, presented as part of the 40th anniversary of the Harnett Museum of Art, is dedicated to the memory of Joel W. Harnett, RC’45 (1926-2006). The art museum was named the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art in 2005 in recognition of the generosity of the Harnetts throughout the years and for their nurturing and leadership of the museums at the University of Richmond.

Past Programming

Lecture and Reception
Tuesday, September 4, 2008, 7 to 9 p.m.
7 p.m., Lecture,
Cousins Studio Theater,
Modlin Center for the Arts
“Circumpolar View of the Arctic by an American”
Dr. Dan Albrecht, collector
8 to 9 p.m., Reception and exhibition preview

Gallery Talk
Friday, October 24, 2008, 12:30 to 1 p.m.
Harnett Museum or Art,
Modlin Center for the Arts
Gallery talk by Schuyler Swartout, ’11, philosophy major and 2008 Arts and Sciences Summer Research Fellow in the University Museums