Friday, April 29, 2005

Native American Iroquois Use Chemists To Help Clean Masks

New York: For more than 25 years, G. Peter Jemison had led the Seneca's efforts to get back ceremonial masks and other objects held for generations by museums. To traditional Iroquois people, the masks are powerful, living objects and part of the private religious practices shared among the six Iroquois nations, including the Seneca. In 1998 Jemison brought back more than 150 masks from the National Museum of the American Indian but was unable to return them to the elders. The reason: the masks were contaminated with pesticides. In an effort to preserve artifacts made from natural materials, museum staffs had applied pesticides to them. "At the time, no one fully understood the science to know what these numbers meant," Jemison said of the chemical test results. But the Iroquois are making progress on the contamination issue. A graduate-level chemist from the Tonawanda Seneca Reservation is working on scientific ways to safely test and clean the masks so they are safe to use again. In a few months, the Senecas may announce newly discovered methods for dealing with chemical contaminations, including lead from paint originally used by the masks' makers. "It's really some kind of cutting-edge research that we're doing that could benefit the whole field," said Rick Hill, head of the Haudenosaunee Standing Committee on Burial and Repatriation.

For background information on other masks, see West Coast Indian Tribal Masks

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Eagle In Native American Indian Art

The eagle is one of those symbols universally respected as it has been the name for the first lunar space craft, the official emblem of the USA, a martial arts style and of course, revered by many Native American Indian cultures. A new article on the eagle has just been posted. See this article on the Eagle In Native American Indian Art.

Also see the Free Spirit Gallery of Northwest Native American Indian Art for details on available artwork including eagles and other birds.

native american indian art eagle

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Trip To Iqaluit In Nunavut, Canadian Arctic

I just posted a new article called A Trip To Iqaluit In Nunavut, A Canadian Arctic City. It is a travel report on my two trips last year to Iqaluit to acquire Inuit art. Iqaluit is the capital of Nunavut, Canada's newest territory. There are several photos as well. See the Iqaluit In Nunavut, Canadian Arctic article. Here's one image from the article.

iqaluit dogs

Monday, April 25, 2005

Inuit Art As Investments

I was in Quebec City for the weekend and was hoping to see the Brosseau Inuit Art Museum in Old Quebec which has over 500 pieces but apparently the entire collection was recently sold. The collection may turn up again for display in the future somewhere else in Quebec. This brings us to the subject of Inuit art as investments. Many collectors of Inuit art view their collections as investments as with other fine art. Indeed, older pieces of Inuit art have been sold at auctions for high prices. Should contemporary Inuit art be considered as possible investments? For more discussion on this, see the article Inuit Art As Investments.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Inuit Art Advocate James Houston Dies At 83

Canadian James Houston who pretty well helped start the contemporary Inuit art industry died on Sunday at the age of 83. He introduced the world to contemporary Inuit art sculpture and taught the Inuit techniques on print making. For the news story on New York Times, see Inuit Art Advocate James Houston.

For other articles which described James Houston's involvement in Inuit art, see the Evolution of Contemporary Inuit Art and the Birth of Inuit Art Prints.

Northwest Indian Art For Ancestors Brought Home

Last year, there was a TV documentary about the Northwest Indian Haida people going to a Chicago museum to bring back remains of ancestors back to BC Canada for proper burials. Northwest Indian art in the form of special boxes and button blankets were used as a part of the process. The group has worked to bring more than 400 remains of their ancestors located in different institutions around the US. The latest effort will bring six more ancestors back from Portland, Oregon. See the story in Indian Country Today.

Free Spirit Gallery Northwest Indian Art

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Inuit Art Exhibit In Ottawa

Here's a direct link to that new Inuit art exhibit at the National Gallery in Ottawa that I mentioned previously;
National Gallery Inuit Art Exhibit

If the images entice you to want to acquire some Inuit art of your own, feel free to see the Free Spirit Gallery of Inuit Art.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Native American Art Bear

I have just completed a new article on the Native American art bear. It describes the symbolic meaning of the bear in Northwest Native American art as well as one of the popular Haida legends on the Mother Bear. See this new article with images at Northwest Native American Art Bear.

native american art bear

Monday, April 18, 2005

Inuit Art Dancing Walrus

In the world of Inuit art, dancing polar bears are often the Inuit carvings that get the most attention and demand. In addition to Inuit carvings of dancing polar bears, Inuit artists have been known to produce dancing walruses as well. The walruses are carved with the same touch of humor as the polar bears. An example is the Inuit carving of a dancing walrus below carved by Juta Ipeelee of Iqaluit, Nunavut. It is 5 inches high with its tusks made from caribou antler. To see more images of this Inuit art dancing walrus as well as other walruses, see Free Spirit Gallery of Inuit Walrus carvings.

inuit art dancing walrus carving

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Colors Adjusted in Inuit Art & Native American Art Website

When Inuit art and Northwest Native American art website Free Spirit Gallery was first launched, the standard default colors for hyperlinks were used. It has since been realized that these default colors were sometimes difficult to see against the black background the website uses. This was especially the case for hyperlinks that were already visited by past visitors to the site. Therefore, one of the adjustments made this year was to change the colors of the hyperlinks on the website pages to brighter colors for easier viewing. Since the website has also grown significantly not only in the number of Inuit art and Northwest Native American art pieces, the number of information resource articles has also increased. Therefore, a site map page was added to show an overall summary of the website. See the Free Spirit Gallery Site Map to see the different sections of the website including the titles of the information resource articles in Inuit art and Northwest Native American art.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Northern Quebec Arctic Nunavik Wants Self Government

Northern Quebec Arctic Nunavik has wanted self government similar to Nunavut for years. The present Quebec government intends to help Nunavik move towards that but at a much slower pace than the north would like. The Quebec government blames this on tight finances. See the complete story on northern Quebec Arctic in Nunatsiaq News.

The Inuit in Nunavik produce some very nice Inuit art sculpture, especially those involving people subjects. They are superb in creating family scenes and hunting scenes. An example is a recent arrival at Free Spirit Gallery shown below. It is a hunter with a seal shown under the ice. This 8 inch high Inuit art sculpture was carved by Pita Pirti of Kangirsuk in Nunavik. See more images of this piece and other hunter scenes at Free Spirit Gallery's Other Inuit Art page.

inuit art sculpture hunter

Thursday, April 14, 2005

New Native American Art Bald Eagle Carvings

I have added a nice pair of Northwest Native American art Bald Eagle carvings to the gallery. They were carved by master carver Gary 'Boo Boo' Baker of Squamish Nation in BC, Canada. You can see them under items nea-19 and nea-20 at the Northwest Coast Native American Indian Art Birds page. Here's some images of them. There's more shots and details at the gallery pages.

native american art bald eagle native american art bald eagle

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

New Article on Native American Art Thunderbird

I just finished writing a new article on the Native American Art Thunderbird. This popular icon from Native American legend and mythology has been used to name cars, TV shows, US Air Force squadrons and more. The article describes some of the background behind the thunderbird in Northwest Native American art. See this newly posted article at Native American Art Thunderbird. Meanwhile, here's a Northwest Native American art carving of a thunderbird by Cody Mathias below.

native american art thunderbird

For more Northwest Native American art and Inuit art, see Free Spirit Gallery

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Native American Art Lore

I'm enjoying the recent issue of a Yahoo newsgroup e-zine I subscribe to. This issue has Native American art lore including shields, dream catchers, medicine wheels, and more. For more information, see The Asylm Dream Catcher.

Meanwhile, here's a nice Northwest Native American art carving of an eagle that is over 22 inches in length. You can see more images and details of it and others at Free Spirit Gallery of Northwest Birds.

native american art eagle

Monday, April 11, 2005

West Coast Indian Totem Poles

Native American art in the form of huge totem poles have facinated people living in the west coast for many years. See the article West Coast Indian Totem Poles describing history and use of Native American totem poles in the Pacific Northwest region. Here's one of the images from the article.

west coast indian totem poles

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Large Inuit Carving of a Walrus

Here's a large Inuit carving of a walrus. It was carved by Joanasie Johah of Iqaluit, Nunavut and has that nice green serpentine stone that is often used by Inuit carvers in that region. It is 10 1/4 inches in length, 7 1/2 inches high by 4 inches. The tusks are made of caribou antler. For larger and additional images, see Inuit carving of walrus.

inuit carving of walrus

Friday, April 08, 2005

Battle Over Inuit Word In Nunavut

Nunavut's language commissioner is unhappy with Qimmik Manufacturing. The company plans to trademark the Inuktitut word qimmik [dog] for its line of dog food. Company spokesperson Ann Yourt said the the company has nothing but respect for Inuit culture. "And this is one of the reason that we chose the qimmik word because it pays tribute to the plight of the beautiful and majestic Canadian Eskimo dogs," she says. But Johnny Kusugak, Nunavut's Languages Commissioner, doesn't see it as an honour, nor is he surprised. He says other companies have used Inuit cultural symbols to sell everything from banking services to rubber boots. However, Kusugak says this company's move is more disturbing. By trademarking the word, no one--not even Inuit -- can use it to name their business or organization. "There are words out there that identify who we are. Just like the inukshuk identifies the Inuit, qimmik fits in with that," he says.

Source : CBC News

See Inuit art from Nunavut.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Inuit Art & Artifacts Discovered In Vatican

A collection of Inuit art and artifacts have been discovered in the Vatican, 80 years after being taken from Canada's Arctic. The pieces, acquired for an exhibition in 1925, have been in storage in Rome ever since. Some objects,including a kayak from the Western Arctic, are very rare. They were uncovered last fall when a Toronto business person decided to investigate the collection. Ken Lister from the Royal Ontario Museum also looked over the artifacts. He says poor documentation makes it difficult to find who took the items or where they came from. He's hoping to get a loan to be able to examine them further. He says the Vatican seemed interested in the possibility. See for full story.

For contemporary Inuit art, see Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art

Monday, April 04, 2005

Inuit Art Quarterly

Inuit Art Quarterly is the only publication that is dedicated to Inuit art and is published by the Inuit Art Foundation in Canada. As the name implies, it comes out four times per year. It is usually distributed via subscription but I did see a copy in a Montreal area Chapters store once. It is a nice magazine with good articles and excellent photos of Inuit art. Free Spirit Gallery Inuit Art has an ad in the latest issue (Spring 2005) on page 36.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Is All Inuit Sculpture Soapstone?

Many would think that all Inuit sculpture is carved from soapstone. In actual fact, the type of stone used in Inuit sculpture can vary depending on the Arctic region and sometimes this can vary within the same regions as well. The phrase Inuit soapstone sculpture is actually a bit of a misnomer since in most regions of the Arctic, soapstone is not the usual stone used. For more details and examples of the types of stone and bone that Inuit carvers use for their work, see Materials Used In Inuit Sculpture.