Lucassie Echalook, Mattiusi Iyaituk
Between Tradition and Innovation

Vernissage: Thursday November 19 at 6 pm
Exhibition: November 20 to December 16, 2015
Artists’ and Curators’ Talk: Friday November 20 at 7 pm

The McClure Gallery of the Visual Arts Centre is honoured to feature the sculptural works of Mattiusi Iyaituk and Lucassie Echalook in the exhibition, Ullumimut − Between tradition and innovation. The exhibition is undertaken in collaboration with the Avataq Cultural Institute and curated by its Director of Museology, Louis Gagnon, and multidisciplinary artist Beatrice Deer. A 68 page catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Mattiusi Iyaituk and Lucassie Echalook are two of the most renowned contemporary Inuit sculptors, admired for their art but no less for their contribution to the preservation of the Inuit culture of Nunavik. Through the use of both traditional and innovative materials, they shape the gestures of human, animal and shaman, evoking the quotidian stories, myths and dreams of their way of life. Yet while so deeply enmeshed in their immediate environment − a vast and distant geography that remains to most of us an unknown place − their works transcend the particular to speak of more universal truths. In Echalook’s intertwining figures, carved so judiciously out of one block of soapstone or steatite, we recognize the human need for the bonds and succor of community. In Iyaituk’s lone shamans, whose arms, antlers and trance-like stares seem to petition the surrounding vastness for spiritual guidance, we acknowledge our desire for connection to a world beyond the self. The sculptures mine these themes with formal rigour, humour and haunting beauty.

Approximately 30 works of Iyaituk and Echalook are featured in the exhibition, graciously loaned by the Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec. Also included is a selection of works by five Inuit artists from Montreal: Tanya Innaarulik, Nicoletta Mesher, Maggie Kiatainaq, Nancy Saunders and Gabriel N. Koperkaluk. Despite the urban influence, the use of innovative media and types of expression −which at first glance suggest a risky divergence from tradition − the works unerringly reflect their Inuit heritage. Their inclusion highlights the inexorable power of culture and identity and its capacity to invent itself anew.

Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday, 12 pm to 6 pm; Saturday, 12 pm to 5 pm