Thursday, March 31, 2005

New Inuit Art Sculpture Exhibit At National Gallery

There is a new exhibit of Inuit art sculpture at the National Gallery in Ottawa, Canada. This exhibit features selected pieces of Inuit sculpture.  These works were created between the late 1940's to the late 1960's. This period is considered by many to be a golden period of Inuit art since the Inuit were still living the traditional lifestyle they had for hundreds of years. This collection of Inuit sculpture captures that old traditional lifestyle before many Inuit started to modernize shortly after this time period.

A news video clip is presently available at the CBC website which shows some of this impressive collection of Inuit art sculpture.

For more recent artwork, see Contemporary Inuit Sculpture.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Standing Polar Bear Inuit Art Sculpture

After my tour of the Old Montreal shops last weekend, I realized that there's not too many Inuit art sculptures of polar bears in a standing position. I have seen quite a few Native American art interpretations of standing grizzly bears but not many from the Inuit art world. I know that polar bears do stand sometimes as I've seen them in pictures from those polar bear tours up in Churchill, Manitoba. Tourists ride in these custom designed tundra buggies that are high up and out of reach of the polar bears. I've seen photos of the polar bears standing to try and see who is in these buggies. Anyway, I happen to have an Inuit sculpture of a bear in such a position in my gallery. An image of this 10 inch high beauty is below and there are more shots at Standing Polar Bear Inuit Sculpture.

polar bear inuit sculpture

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Inuit Art In Old Montreal

Last time I reported about the Native art found in the shops in Old Montreal. I will report on the Inuit art found in this tourist area now. Several touristy stores carried Inuit art but all had a full range of both authentic as well as fakes. I saw three general categories of products. There were the Wolf originals type which is mass produced reproductions clearly made from molds. These were usually stocked on an open shelf and the least expensive. The second category was a higher end reproduction made of white marble and sometimes fake jade. These are harder to determine for its authenticity by tourists since they are marketed as carvings and are stone. But they are mass produced and not one of a kind. You can also tell by their prices which are higher than category one but not nearly as high as the authentic Inuit art. Most shops do have a supply of authentic Inuit carvings with Canadian government Igloo tags. These are generally displayed in locked glass cases. There's no doubt which category the stores consider the most valuable. A few shops even had a nice selection of Inuit art from both Cape Dorset and other Nunavut communities as well as Nunavik. However, their prices were sky high, at least 25 to even 50 percent higher than online galleries specializing in Inuit art.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art Website Still Online

Good news! The Free Spirit Gallery Inuit art and Native art website is still online. There were worries about accessibility because recent increased traffic to the site had surpassed expected limits in bandwidth but everything has been adjusted to accommodate the increase in traffic. The addition of many useful information resources articles on both Inuit art and Northwest Indian art had attracted this increase in website traffic.

Native Indian Art In Old Montreal

I went for a visit to the Old Montreal area which is one of the main tourist areas of Montreal yesterday. I visited several stores which carried both Canadian Native Indian art and Inuit art. I'll comment on the Native Indian art for this post and the Inuit art on a future post. As for the Native art, it's incredible on the amount of mass reproduced souvenir items there are. Many of these have tags that claim that they were 'inspired' by Native Canadian people and some even stated that they were handcrafted by Natives. It's a play on words because none of these were original authentic works of art. There were many identical copies and they looked at little too perfect. The prices were quite low too and I think they will sell well especially now that the spring will start up the heavier tourist season coming up. This is fine is these tourists just want a cheaply made souvenir of Canada that serves as a reminder of their trip. Some of the items are not even made in Canada though. However, if they were looking specifically for authentic works of Native Indian art, they will be disappointed after they do some research. Some of the dream catchers on sale seemed to be authentic but fake items by Wolf and Boma were well represented. In order to be more informed about real original Native art and fakes, see the article Authenticity of Native Indian Art. There were no Northwest Coast Indian art in these Old Montreal souvenir shops since Montreal is pretty far east in Canada. Authentic artwork from the Pacific coast are usually seen only in the west coast or at a reputable online gallery dealing with authentic Native art.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Bandwidth Exceed For Inuit Art & Indian Art Online Gallery

I just received a report from the website provider of Free Spirit Gallery Inuit art & Northwest Indian art that the bandwidth has been exceed this month. This might cause some inaccessibility for the website until the end of the month. I will look into this issue immediately and hope to clear things up ASAP. If you can't access Free Spirit Gallery, please try again in a few days. It will be up and running 100% for sure in the beginning of April. I'll keep everybody posted on this situation via this Inuit & Native Art Bulletin blog. Thanks for your patience everyone

Saturday, March 26, 2005

New Northwest Indian Art Arrivals At Free Spirit Gallery

I had recently gone out west to BC Canada to visit my friends at the Squamish Nation. I interviewed four of my favorite Northwest Indian art carvers. Now you can see profiles of Cody Mathias, Gary Baker, Peter Charlie and Paul Joseph. I also brought back many new Northwest Indian art carvings by these four master carvers and others. There are new Northwest carvings of eagles, killer whales, bears, hummingbirds, salmons and even a beaver. See them at the Northwest Indian Art Carvings section of the online gallery.

northwest indian art

Friday, March 25, 2005

Nunavut Language Awards Winners Announced

Frequently, Inuit artists signed their finished Inuit carvings and art prints with Inuit syllabics as well as in English. Sometimes, only the Inuit characters are used on finished Inuit art without any English. The schools in the Canadian Arctic have a comprehensive program to teach the Inuit youth their native language Inuktituk as a way to help the community retain their culture.

The Nunavut Language Awards celebrate Nunavummiut who promote the daily use of Inuit language. This year, four recipients were chosen in youth, adult and elder-based categories:

Youth Language Award: Miali-Elise Coley from Iqaluit. Coley is President of the Inuit Circumpolar Youth Conference and promotes Inuktitut through cultural appearances and public speaking events. She is studying to become a teacher.

Adult Language Award: Mark Kalluak of Arviat. Kalluak has translated the Bible's New Testament into Inuktitut, became editor of the Keewatin Echo (Kivalliq region's first newspaper,) and works to preserve oral sayings and improve Inuktitut pronunciation.

Adult Language Award: Gloria Mimialik of Iqaluit. Mimialik, a nursing student, encourages classmates to use Inuktitut medical terms and encourages Iqaluit's youth to speak and write in Inuktitut.

Elder Language Award: Manasa Evic from Pangnirtung. Evic has recorded the community elders' stories for schools, teaches youth how to raise dog teams, and passes on IInuktitut and traditional knowledge to younger generations.

This is the third year for the Nunavut Language Awards -

To see some of the beautiful Inuit art that comes from the Nunavut region, see Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Older Works of Inuit Art & Indian Art

I get calls and e-mails on a regular basis from people who have older works of Inuit art and Indian art. These folks usually want to know more about the original artist. I would refer them to the Canadian government's Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs since they have a large database of both Canadian Inuit and Indian artists. They would be the best resource for researching all Canadian aboriginal artists.

For those who have older Inuit art and wish to determine the current market value of their collection, see the article Value of Older Inuit Art.

To view contemporary Inuit art and Northwest Indian art, keep visiting this blog as I post examples of artwork on a regular basis. One can also see beautiful works at Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art & Northwest Indian Art.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Native American Art Using Bison Dung

Daniel Hidalgo and Victor Bruha have discovered two clever ways to utilize buffalo dung: creating artwork and manufacturing paper. "As artists, we are always looking for interesting and unique ways of expressing ourselves," Daniel said. "And with our twisted senses of humor, we decided this might be the way to do it." Bruha and Hidalgo just recently started a company called Dung and Dunger. First, they sanitize the dung. Next, they mix it with small amounts of shredded paper to give it strength. Then the substance is placed into a vat of water. Particles are gathered with a screen, sponged and ready to dry. It takes about 6 hours to make one sheet. "Of course, that includes our sanitation, all those types of things," said artist Victor Bruha." We insist everything must be cleaned." Both artists are outdoor enthusiasts and spend much of their time exploring the back country. Daniel Hidalgo, artist: "When we go out and pick up the bison dung, you have to be selective because you want something that's dried in the sun and hard. Anything fresh will be gooey." The two artists are finalizing another method of paper making using elk dung.
View paper, art, and learn more:

For non-dung Native American Art, see Free Spirit Gallery Northwest Indian Art

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

eBay Removes Eskimo Art Listings

Looks like eBay has removed numerous auction listings of Eskimo art containing marine mammal parts including ivory from walrus as well as baleen whalebone. The affected listings were of Eskimo art carvings from Alaska. There is now a battle between sellers of Native Alaskan art and eBay on this issue. See the article Export of Eskimo Art Containing Ivory for more background on the laws. Technically, if these eBay listings were meant for selling within the US only, these sellers might not have had any problems. The question is whether eBay completely understands the international laws governing such artwork. Below is an example of an Eskimo art carving from Canada which features a base made of whalebone. Such a piece of artwork must be sold within Canada only according to present laws.

eskimo art carving

Monday, March 21, 2005

Inuit Art Polar Bear Sculpture

Here's a nice Inuit art polar bear sculpture by Inuit master carver Adla Korgak from Iqaluit, Nunavut. Adla used a very beautiful green serpentine stone for this carving. This bear sculpture is 7 inches in length, 4 inches wide and 5 1/4 inches high. For more images of this great piece, see Inuit Art Polar Bear Sculpture.

inuit art bear sculpture

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Northwest Coast Indian Art Carver Paul Joseph

Northwest Coast Indian art carver Paul Joseph once did a Native American totem pole for the King and Queen of Spain. He does some of the nicest and most detailed carvings I've seen. He is one of the four carvers I interviewed during my last trip to Vancouver, BC. Check out the profile of Northwest Coast Indian art carver Paul Joseph which also has images of him working. Here's one of his works below.

northwest coast indian art carving

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Arctic Region of Inuit Art

Whenever I look at a map of the Canadian Arctic, I'm always in awe of its vastness. I'm even more in awe of how far and isolated all those Inuit communities are. I've been to Iqaluit twice to acquire Inuit art but when I look at the maps, I see the other smaller communities even more isolated and farther up north than Iqaluit. It's very hard to imagine living way up there so far from everything else. But then there is that strange natural beauty of the Arctic barrens I have experienced a bit. See Arctic Region of Inuit Art to see maps of Inuit art producing communities. One will see just how far Inuit art must travel to get to galleries and homes down south.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Northwest Native American Tribe vs Animal Rights Group

One of the groups that produce great Northwest Native American art, the Makah tribe, are in a battle with an animal rights group for whales over their traditional hunts in Washington state. It's rather unfortunate that these conflicts come up. Here's the news release:

Washington: For at least 1,500 years, the Makah Tribe harvested whales from the nearby Pacific Ocean near the Olympic Peninsula. The tribe dropped the practice in the 1920s because of declining whale numbers. Today, the gray whale population has grown to a healthy 17,000-23,000, and the Makah are requesting a waiver from the Marine Mammals Protection Act for the right to begin harvesting them again. ''It's in our history and culture,'' said Makah tribal councilman Ben Johnson, Jr. The tribe points out that some elders can still remember the traditional whale hunts, thus establishing a continuity. One group standing against the tribe is the Cetacean [Whale] International Society. President Bill Rossiter says that times have changed, and the Makah no longer depend on whales for survival. He admits that the Makah have ''gotten a raw deal'' from the government and said that while his group wants to help the tribe, they do not believe whaling is the answer. ''[The Cetacean Society International's] position is that we are for the Makah, and helping the tribe to grow culturally and economically, but when it comes to whaling we have to take a wider world view and stand in opposition to those efforts,'' he said.

See Northwest Native American Art

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Ancient Native American Art To Be Displayed

Thousands of years before Europeans settled in North America, civilizations thrived along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers. The art and artifacts of those Native Americans -- some of it dating back to 5000 B.C. -- will soon be on display at the St. Louis Art Museum. They were assembled and have been on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

For full story, see

For contemporary artwork, see Free Spirit Gallery Northwest Native American Art

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Northwest Native Art Carver Peter Charlie

Another one of my favourite carvers for Northwest Native art is Peter Charlie. He's one of the best in putting shapes to carvings giving them an almost 3D effect. A close up of one of his more recent works is below. Check out the profile on him at Northwest Native Art Carver Peter Charlie

northwest native art carving

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Very Rare Walrus Eskimo Art Carving Floating

Here's an Eskimo art carving of a walrus that is featured floating on its back in the water. This position is rarely seen in Eskimo carvings. It was done by Charlie Jonah of Iqaluit, Nunavut. For more photos of this rare and wonderful piece of art, see Walrus Floating On Back Eskimo Carving.

walrus Eskimo carving

Monday, March 14, 2005

Is that Eskimo Art Real or Fake?

As Eskimo art becomes more popular internationally, there's the problem with the proliferation of fakes and mass produced reproductions. Sometimes it's very hard to tell the real pieces from the fakes. Here's an article that helps the collector of both Eskimo art and Native American art tell the difference;

Authenticity of Eskimo Art & Native American Art

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Northwest Coast Native Art Carver Cody Mathias

Here's a profile on Northwest Coast Native art carver Cody Mathias. He is a master carver from the Squamish Nation in BC Canada. Here's one of his awesome Northwest Coast Native art bear carvings.

northwest coast native art bear

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Inuit Art Includes Films But Group Battles TV Network

Of course Inuit art features Inuit sculpture and Inuit prints but recently also includes Inuit films. One such film is in the center of a battle between the production company and a TV network. Nunavut: The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network has a policy requiring aboriginal-language films to be dubbed in English or French. Prominent Nunavummiut, including those behind the film Atanarjuat: the Fast Runner, say this policy damages the Inuktitut language. "The idea that the Aboriginal television network should be the first network on Earth that actually requires us to provide dubbed versions -- we think that that's sort of ridiculous and kind of sad," said Norman Cohn of Igloolik Isuma Productions. Louis Tapardjuk, Nunavut's minister of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, agrees. He says that a time when aboriginal languages are struggling to survive, the policy doesn't make sense. "Any channel that you turn on the dial on TV, you don't pick up any other languages except English and French," he said, "and APTN is the only station that our unilingual Inuit in Nunavut can understand."

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

The original news article.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Inuit Art eCards Available

As many of you know, eCards or electronic postcards are a fun way to send messages to your friends online. Here's a set of Inuit art eCards - they are probably the only ones in existence on the net so far. Below is a downsized example of one of the many images available there. Best of all is that they are free!

Inuit Art eCard

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Family That Moved To Canadian Arctic

Here's an interesting website that describes the life of a family previously from Nova Scotia, Canada that moved up to the Canadian Arctic and is now living among the Inuit up there. See this new Arctic family.

It's probably so neat to be living among so many expert artisans in Inuit art. For those of you who would want to, see more Inuit art.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Inuit Carving of Polar Bear Showing Teeth

As many of you know, most Inuit carvings of polar bears do not seem to display their teeth but I found one that does. It was made by Johnylee Akpalialuk of Pangnirtung, Nunavut (where is Pangnirtung?). It is 8 3/4 inches long by 4 inches wide and 4 inches high. To see more of it, see Inuit polar bear carving.

Inuit carving of polar bear

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Coast Salish First Nation Art

My friend who works at the Coast Salish First Nation group I deal with corrected some of my terminology yesterday. I had been referring to his group as 'Squamish First Nation' and he informed me that they prefer 'Squamish Nation', which is part of the Coast Salish First Nation. Looks like there's going to be more website adjustments to make then. There's certainly some beautiful art coming out of his community. See their Coast Salish art carvings as well as their wonderful Coast Salish art prints.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Southwest Native art tribes oppose English language

Arizona is one of the states that produces wonderful Southwest Native art. Here's a article from Indian Country Today which reports some news from that region.

Arizona tribes oppose English as official language

© Indian Country Today January 21, 2005. All Rights Reserved

PHOENIX - Arizona Indian tribal leaders opposed new legislation that would make English the official state language, as they struggled for solutions to meet the needs of economic development and housing, during the 10th annual Indian Nations and Tribes Legislative Day.

Arizona Indian women leaders received standing ovations at the Arizona State Capitol when they objected to the proposal to make English the state language.

''In plain English, sir, we don't like it, and we don't want it,'' said San Carlos Apache Chairwoman Kathy Kitcheyan. ''As the first Americans, we never asked anyone to speak a specific language.''

Tohono O'odham Chairperson Vivian Juan-Saunders said the proposal was reminiscent of BIA boarding schools, where Indian children were verbally and physically abused for speaking their Native languages.

Juan-Saunders, also president of the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, said Navajos and other American Indian soldiers used their Native languages as unbreakable codes to pass messages, which helped win World War II.

House Concurrent Resolution 2030, being considered during this year's legislative session, would allow Arizona voters to declare English the official state language.

Speaking before a luncheon crowd of 500 representatives on the lawn in front of Senate Building, Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. said Indian tribes are beginning to feel like endangered species.

''We've been a true sovereign, but we're doing everything we can to save ourselves and our culture,'' President Shirley said, criticizing the English measure. ''One hundred years from now, 500 years from now, we will continue to be Navajo people telling our stories in the Navajo language.''

However, Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, sponsor of the legislation, criticized tribal leaders for their comments. In the audience, Pearce accused tribal leaders of not reading the proposed law. He said there is nothing in the proposal that affects how tribes conduct their own business.

Please visit the Indian Country Today website for more articles related to this topic

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Map of Inuit Art Communities in Canadian Arctic

Here's a link to maps of Inuit art producing communities in the Canadian Arctic north. As one can see, they are quite isolated from the major cities and the rest of Canada which makes it a challenge for many Inuit artists to get exposure to the rest of the world.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Northwest Indian Art Carver Gary Baker

One of the finest carvers of Pacific Northwest Indian art is Gary Baker of the Squamish First Nation. I have several of his carvings including bald eagles and killer whales on my own walls. I interviewed him during my last trip to BC Canada recently. See this profile of Northwest Indian art carver Gary Baker which includes photos of him working as well as his artwork. Here's an example of one of his works which is a magnificent killer whale carving.

northwest indian art killer whale

Friday, March 04, 2005

List of Pow Wows

Here's a nice list of pow wows from the Manataka American Indian Council's online newsletter They always have lots of other interesting stuff there too.

Another note - most of the Netscape related problems at the Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art & Northwest Indian Art site have been fixed. However, the site is best viewed with the latest versions of browsers. Netscape 4 may still have some problems with the site and it is recommended for Netscape users to download their free copy of 7.2 to view most websites out there optimally.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Nanticoke Indian Tribe - Native American People

There's a nice newsletter from a Yahoo group called The Asylum Dream Catcher that comes 2-3 times per week. Each issue has detailed information about the history of a specific Native American group, some of their Native art and even recipes. A recent issue was about the Nanticoke Indian tribe located in Delaware. One subscribe to this newsletter to see all the nice graphics and archives.

The Asylum Dreamcatcher

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Will Fix Up For Netscape Users Soon

I'm aware that some of the pages of Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art & Northwest Indian Art are not displaying optimally when viewed through Netscape. I hope to fix this up soon. I apologize to all Netscape users for this. The site looks fine in other browsers like Explorer so far.

My Northwest Native Indian Bear Carving

Here's one of my favourite Northwest Native Indian wood carvings which was carved by Paul Joseph of the Squamish First nation in North Vancouver, Canada. It is of two bears. I think Northwest Coast Native Indian art is one of the most striking forms of art. I just love this stuff. You can see more at Northwest Indian Art Carvings

Northwest Coast Indian Art Bear Carving

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

My Inuit Art Dancing Polar Bear Carving

During my first trip up to Iqaluit, I saw an Inuit carver working outside his house. I went up to him and he was working on a polar bear carving. I noticed that part of one foot of the bear was chipped off. He said that he would repair by the evening. Later that night, I met him with his finished dancing bear carving complete with the repaired foot. I asked him which foot was the damaged one. He just said, "You tell me." I was not able to. It was obvious that this Inuit carver had not only talent in carving but also repairing sculptures. His name is Johnnylee Nooveya and in my opinion, he is one of the up and coming rising starts of the Inuit art world. I have since acquired other Inuit carvings by him and he is one of the best polar bear carvers around. To this day, this Inuit dancing bear is my personal favorite piece and remains in my own collection. Here's an image of it below and you can see larger versions of it on the home page of Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art.

Inuit Art Dancing Polar Bear