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12th Annual Sivertson Gallery INUIT PREMIERE


GRAND MARAIS, MN  ---  March 1, 2012   ---  Sivertson Gallery opens their 12th Annual Inuit Premiere in Grand culptor David Ruben Piqtoukun Marais on Saturday, March 17th,  2012 with world-renowned Inuit artist David Ruben Piqtoukun and coming from the North West Territories and Nunavik (arctic Quebec), throat singers Nina Segalowitz and Lydia Etok.  The annual Inuit Premiere is the only one of its kind in the lower 48 United States featuring original Canadian Inuit prints & sculptures and Native Alaskan sculptures formed from walrus tusk, whale bone, baleen and soapstone. Art Gallery Owner Jan Sivertson and Manager CJ Heithoff have recently returned from ‘Fur Rondy’ in Anchorage, AK, where all natives from remote villages come down to enjoy the festivities to mark the beginning of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and where Polka is the #1 late night activity all around Anchorage.  The opening weekend events at Sivertson Gallery are free and open to the public and the exhibit continues through the end of April.  In addition, David will teach two workshops offered through the North House Folk School.

The early Inuit were a semi-nomadic hunting people divided into regional tribal groupings throughout Canada.  The convergence of traditional Inuit culture and both European culture followed by modern Western cultures, changed Inuit life.  Today, the enthusiasm for and deep appreciation of Inuit art and culture is created out of the commonality of many human values: reverence for family bonds, respect for the power, beauty, and intelligence of other living creatures, and a sense of mystery about the forces that shape our lives. Inuit art, particularly the work of Inuit artist David Ruben Piqtoukun, depicts the great ingenuity of the people of the North who live in one of the world’s harshest environments requiring adaptability and perseverance in every phase of daily life.  With these qualities, Inuit art establishes a strong and enduring emotional bond with its collectors.

Born in Paulatuk, NWT master soapstone Sculptor David Ruben Piqtoukun has lived the traditional migratory life with his family along the Mackenzie River Delta.  At the age of 5 David was sent to a boarding school until the age of 17.  Having forgotten the Native language and Eskimo ways he describes himself at that time as being “lost between two worlds.”  With more than 30 years of continued carving has taught him much about his past, his culture, and his identity, much more than any books he has read to date.  In 1998 David became the first Inuit artist to be appointed to the prestigious Sculpture Society of Canada.  “The stone carving process teaches many rituals of my people, hunting practices, healing, animals, spirit helpers, centuries-old customs for travel and weather pushing (ski pushing techniques) and healthy eating patterns and most importantly, respect for elder people, parents, family, animals, inanimate and animate objects, but most of all, the spirit world of the Eskimo People.  My Inuit culture is rich again in many ways and I feel rich in spirit for having continued to explore images in stone.”  -- David Ruben Piqtoukun, 2012

Romancing the Stone: An Introduction to Inuit Soapstone Carving Workshops:  For those wanting to explore Inuit art in depth, two workshops will be offered in conjunction with the Premiere; David will be teaching soapstone carving through North House Folk School.  In addition to first-hand instruction, students will have the opportunity to work in the same stone as the master carver himself.  This year David will focus on sculpting techniques as well as traditional carving techniques.

Throat Singers Nina Segalowitz (Fort Smith, NWT) & Lydia Etok (Kangiqsualujjuaq, Quebec)  give voice to the Nina Segalowitz Lydia Etokcontemporary Inuit struggle to achieve balance between two worlds; traditional life in the arctic and modern day “down south.”   Segalowitz, whose ancestry is Inuvialuit (Inuit) and Chipewyan, was taken by force from her family as an infant and was raised by her adoptive family in Montreal, connecting back to her roots in adulthood. Half a continent apart, Etok grew up in an Inuit village on the shores of northeastern Quebec. With their regal performance of Kattajjak, the Nunavik-style of throat singing, they represent one of the purest traditions of Inuit culture. Practiced by the Inuit for hundreds of years, these songs embody Inuit women’s prized moments of leisure and entertainment. Picture two women standing face to face, playing a game of repeating rhythms and creating harmonies by manipulating air from lungs to lips… fated to end with laughter or two breathless women. The sounds produced are wordless, often imitating sounds of nature or cries of animals or birds. It is a fascinating and delightful custom to witness.

(Please note that scheduled times are subject to change. )

Friday,  March 16th
At North House Folk School:
8 pm                            Inuit Film Screening – Film TBA

Saturday, March 17th
At Sivertson Gallery:

11:00am Kattajjak: Nunavik-style Throat Singing
 Nina Segalowitz and Lydia Etok

1:00 pm Kattajjak: Nunavik-style Throat Singing
 Nina Segalowitz and Lydia Etok

3:00 pm  Kattajjak: Nunavik-style Throat Singing
 Nina Segalowitz and Lydia Etok

6:00 pm  Fireside Chat with David Ruben Piqtoukun

Workshops at North House Folk School: 

March 14th, 15th and 16th “Romancing the Stone: An Introduction to Inuit Soapstone Carving”

March 18th and 19th     “Inuit Soapstone Carving: Speaking Through Sculpture”
 A hands-on workshop for intermediate/advanced students

Both workshops taught by master sculptor David Ruben Piqtoukun
For further information & tuition rates contact
North House Folk School,
218-387-9762 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            218-387-9762      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

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