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Ovilu Tunnillie (born 1949, Inuit, Cape Dorset [Kingait], Nunavut), Falcon, 1991, serpentine,Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, University of Richmond Museums, Gift of Virginia A. Arnold, R2007.06.06
Exhibition
Sep 05, 2009
throughNov 15, 2009

Transformations: Inuit Sculptures from the Collection

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On view at the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature from September 5, 2008 to June 14, 2009, Transformations: Inuit Sculptures from the Collection showcases contemporary Inuit sculptures with a focus on the artists who made these works and their culture, past and present. In just one hundred years, the lifestyle of the typical Inuit person has transformed from nomadic hunting to a sedentary, more Western lifestyle. Today, many Inuit continue to adapt to a cash economy and struggle to maintain their cultural identity. Making sculpture provides an outlet for both of these needs, providing income and preserving Inuit heritage.

As Inuit culture continues to change, their sculpture changes as well; older sculptors recorded memories of their nomadic childhood. But younger generations of carvers, who have been educated in Western schools and were not exposed to many aspects of Inuit culture, discover their heritage by creating sculpture. Some younger artists featured in Transformations, such as Manasie Akpaliapik, Abraham Apakark Anghik, and David Ruben Piqtoukun, have moved to cities such as Toronto and sculpt abstract or nontraditional sculptures very different from those of their parents. The stone, bone, antler, and horn sculptures were selected primarily from a recent gift to the University Museums by Ms. Virginia A. Arnold. Although most of the artists depict age-old customs and subjects, none of the pieces in the exhibition are more than twenty-five years old.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, Transformations was co-curated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, and Schuyler Swartout, ’11, philosophy major, University of Richmond, and 2008 Arts and Sciences summer research fellow in the University Museums.
Past programming
Gallery Talk
Friday, September 19, 2008, 2:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, Boatwright Memorial Library
“Transformations in Inuit Culture,” curator’s talk by Schuyler Swartout, ’11, philosophy major, University of Richmond, and 2008 Arts and Sciences Summer Research Fellow in the University Museums and co-curator of “Transformations”