Remembering traditional Inuit culture

By | Category: Travel news

one of the images collected over fifty years ago. Image © Canadian Museum of History

Fifty years ago, Inuit men, women and youth of North Baffin Island created a series of drawings about what life was like in this remote part of Canada.  From February 16th until September 3rd, these drawings will be on display at the Canadian Museum of History in the Quebec city of Gatineau.

The 50 drawings are parts of the Terrence Peter Ryan Baffin Island Drawing collection, which the museum acquired in 2014.

Terry Ryan was resident art advisor at the Cape Dorset print studio for almost 40 years. In 1964, fearing the loss of traditional Inuit culture in the face of social change, he travelled by plane and dogsled to the North Baffin Island communities of Clyde River, Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay. There, he distributed paper and pencils and invited Inuit men, women and youth to draw. More than 150 people completed 1842 drawings. Ryan acquired the completed drawings on his return trip.

Diverse in theme, style and subject, the drawings depict scenes of hunting practices, traditional knowledge, interactions with outsiders, landscapes and daily life. The Baffin Island Drawing Collection has been designated as one of outstanding significance and national importance by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.
The entire exhibition (text, videos , website and in gallery booklet) is presented in Inuktitut, French and English. The exhibition also features 42 video clips of the artists, their families and community members who provided their interpretations of the drawings.

Through 50 original drawings – created in 1964 by Inuit men,women and youth of North Baffin Island – this exhibition explores a transformative era for the people of Canada’s eastern Arctic. The drawings offer rare first person perspectives on daily life and memory during a time when Inuit communities were transitioning from traditional nomadic hunting camps to permanent settlements.

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