Inuit Dolls of the Kivalliq

Hannah Killulark, Untitled, 2007.

Helen Konek, Untitled, 2007

This exhibition features Inuit dolls from seven communities of the Kivalliq region: Arviat, Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Rankin Inlet, Repulse Bay, and Whale Cove. The dolls were created in several doll-making workshops organized by the Tarralikitaaq Arts Society in 2007. The workshops concluded with the Kivalliq Inuit Doll Festival in Rankin Inlet in September 2007. During the festival over 200 dolls made by 60 people were exhibited. As well as interviewing several of the artists, Darlene Coward Wight, WAG Curator of Inuit Art, helped select 65 dolls to represent the region for an exhibition at the Burnaby Art Gallery the following year.

Inuit have created dolls for centuries, an activity that allowed young girls to learn how to sew clothing for their families. As explained by Tarralikitaaq Society President Helen Ell-Natakok, "I can recall my mother saying that she started off with little fur dolls, and from there gradually improved her sewing. It is also a way for me to improve my sewing techniques."

Made from both traditional and new materials, the dolls demonstrate how tradition and innovation can be intricately connected through art and craft. "The exchange between teachers and students allows for new artistic influences and methods to take shape, while ensuring that traditional forms of expression are not lost," notes Burnaby Director/Curator Darrin Martens.

This exhibition is organized and circulated by the Burnaby Art Gallery and curated by Darrin Martens. It is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue available in the Gallery Shop.


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