Sunday, 9 November 2014


I am in the middle of curating two shows, writing a new book chapter, just volunteered for the Board of Directors of Eastern Edge Gallery and doing a whole bunch more.  And yes, I am sore.   Two hours worth of double reverse spins and deep back dips in Salsa classes.  Put some physical to balance the mental in my life.

Despite how busy I get, I try to set aside time each day to read and to see exhibitions.  It would be so easy to say I don't have time.  But that would be an excuse.  This Wednesday evening I marched up to The Rooms to see an Inuit art exhibit. 

My interest in aboriginal culture goes back to my little girl days when my father would take me to the Kahnawake reserve just outside of Montreal.   Years later, I would find myself on  the six nation reserve in Ontario while on assignment for the Koffler Gallery writing about the carved masks of David General.  Two short years ago, I was on Navaho territory researching the language of pattern that I found on their carpets, pottery and jewellery.  My son, boy-genius Andrew had been researching too.  And he was busy telling me about four-horned sheep.  Our guide said "my auntie has those" and a short jeep ride later we were hanging out with "Auntie" who was 100+ years and a weaver with a flock of (you guessed it) four horned sheep.

Contemporary Art from TD Bank Group’s Inuit Collection
October 4, 2014 – January 18, 2015
Guest Curators: TD Bank Group

Back to St. John's.  Go see this show at the Rooms.  It is a small show but there are some overpowering gems in it.  I was smitten with some of the extra-large coloured pencil drawings of whales and walrus by Tim Pitsiulak.   So many of us will equate the work from up North as print making.  But that has been largely supplanted by the more intimate work in coloured pencil. Annie Pootoogook remains for me to be the queen of this territory.  She has represented genuine contemporary life in Dorset, complete with porn, alcoholism, and take-out pizza.  So, the claims towards "contemporary" life in the TD banks text hardly surprise… the images even less so. 

OK, so what did I fall in love with?  Images that were nearly six foot across that depicted whales and walrus in coloured pencil.  The barnacles on the whales were represented as tiny masks of elders.  The textures on the whales were downright primal.  OK, I dare you.  Go, see this show.  Tell me what entices you.  The stone sculptures of the dude with his MP3 player perhaps?   Yes, this is a contemporary view and the work is all solid but hell, ya it has been manicured.  Tell me what you think.

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