Exhibition Dates: May 16 – September 7, 2014
The exhibition, The World of Man, Animals and Spirits: A Personal Interpretation, includes over 20 soapstone and bronze sculptures and is on view in the first floor temporary exhibition gallery.
The art of Inuvialuit artist Abraham Anghik Ruben (b. 1951) portrays journeys of exploration, migration, and displacement through voyages across time and place, and into the spiritual realm. In these recent sculptures, Ruben contrasts the ancient lives of two northern peoples-Norse adventurers and Inuit (Inuvialuit) whale hunters-guiding us to a new perspective on the complex history of the North American Arctic, a history shaped by movement, contact, and change.
“As an Inuvialuit artist residing in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, I have arrived at a crossroads in my artistic career. As an artist I have spent the last 30 years developing my craft and having as the focus of my work the arts and cultural traditions of my Inuit background. I have made a study of the cultures of the circumpolar world, including those of Siberia, Scandinavia, Greenland and Iceland.
“These studies have also included the changing arctic landscape from the ancient past to our present. My studies of circumpolar people and their movements have led me to the conclusion that there was extensive contact between my Inuit ancestors who arrived into Baffin Island and Greenland at the time of the Viking-Norse settlements and expeditions into the North American arctic and sub-arctic regions.
“I have found that the contact period from the early 900s to the 1400s pregnant with potential for storytelling. I have drawn my material from Inuit and Norse myths and legends, historical contact, and to a large part from my own imagination of what may have happened between two arctic peoples who shared similar world views through shamanism in the early years of contact. With this in mind there is a certain amount of responsibility on my part to tell the stories that haven’t found a voice.
“These stories come directly from my own Native American culture but they are also stories of my Ancestors and our contact with other cultures.”
~Abraham Anghik Ruben
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