April 7, 2013

Recycling, Inuit-style: Caribou antlers carved into works of art

From staff reports

BRUNSWICK - The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College will feature a new exhibit, "Spirits of Land, Air, and Water: Antler Carvings from the Robert and Judith Toll Collection," opening Thursday.

click image to enlarge

Phanuelie Palluq’s “Spirit Man,” 2007, Igloolik, antler.

Robert and Judith Toll Collection, photograph by Dean Abramson, courtesy of Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum

The exhibit features more than 30 carvings from caribou antlers by Inuit from the Canadian Arctic. Also on display will be a selection of Inuit prints highlighting the significance of caribou in Inuit culture.

Genevieve LeMoine, curator of the exhibit, said in a news release that "no two antlers are exactly alike, and artists are inspired by the different shapes of the antler racks. They transform the antler into everything from whimsical spirits to dramatic drummers, and even carve the antler into the likenesses of caribou."

The carvings demonstrate the diverse approaches that artists take when working with antler. The works are modified to a degree to take advantage of the natural shapes and colors of an antler. Other works are carved more extensively and embellished with beads or fur, adding texture and color. The works individually and collectively reflect the inventiveness, playfulness and creativity of Inuit artists.

All of the pieces are from the collection of Robert and Judith Toll.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

For more information, call 725-3416 or go to: bowdoin.edu/arctic-museum.


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