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Renowned Inuit sculptor's work to be hosted by Algoma Art Gallery

Thursday, May 23, 2013   by: Staff



The Art Gallery of Algoma is the first Canadian venue to host the exhibition by renowned contemporary Inuit sculptor, Abraham Anghik Ruben, organized by The Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.

From June 6 to September 8, 2013 - Arctic Journeys Ancient Memories will feature some 20 masterfully carved sculptures in bone, stone, ivory and bronze from private and public collections.

This exhibition offers the opportunity to view what has been one of the Smithsonian’s most successful exhibitions to-date attracting over 500,000 visitors.

Ruben grew up in Paulatuk in Canada’s Northwest Territories amongst a family of storytellers. 

His maternal great-grandparents, who worked in the commercial whaling industry, had been respected for their shamanic abilities. 

A wealth of cultural legends and beliefs were passed down to the children. 

Ruben would draw on these oral histories; coupled with an interest in Norse mythology that was sparked by a circumpolar conference he attended in Irkutsk, Russia to result in the mixed stylization that he employs in his carvings.

Two cultures meet

In Arctic Journeys Ancient Memories Ruben attempts to tell stories of contact between of the ancient Inuit and Viking Norse from a thousand years ago. 

Although there is little archeological record of this interaction, the artist uses the common practice of shamanism by these two circumpolar societies to transcend the cultural and geographical divides.

The shaman serves as prophet and leader to the respective communities and is a central figure throughout his work. 

This leadership is of significance today as the peoples of the Polar Regions face challenges in a changing environment.

Ruben’s work is especially poignant as he uses ancient myths and legends in a contemporary fashion to convey his present feelings and concern.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue published by Arctic Studies Center, Department of Anthropology, National Museums of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and Abraham Anghik Ruben: Myths, Stories, Legends published by Kipling Gallery Publications. 

They will be available for purchase at the Art Gallery of Algoma Gallery Shop as of June 6, 2013.

The Art Gallery of Algoma acknowledges our partnership with the Canadian Spirit 2013 project, and is pleased to have this exhibition listed as a One with the North event.

Book a tour and picnic lunch

During this exhibition the Art Gallery of Algoma will offer all guests a guided tour of the exhibition and a picnic lunch in the Sculpture Park, located adjacent to the Gallery.

The total cost including the guided tour and lunch is $20/person, tax included.

Pre-registration up to two days in advance is required and there is a two-person minimum for the package.

Credit card information is needed to reserve the booking.

For more details contact Elena Lewis email:; phone (705) 949-9067 ext. 107.


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