Collection: The Matchbox Gallery
Location: Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
Key Contact(s): Jim and Sue Shirley
Telephone: 867-645-2674 during the day; 867-645-3117 during the evening
Ours is a big country. Inevitably some of our cultural gems are off the beaten track. This page presents the Matchbox Gallery in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
As an aside, I will be following up in more detail on the gallery and on Inuit ceramics in future pages: on the who, the how and the what.
Although Inuit prints, textiles and soapstone sculpture have long captured the southern imagination, more recent Inuit ceramics are making a strong impact. Much has been written about ceramic influences in Canada: Leach-Hamada, European and Asian ceramics, and the umbrellas of Modernism and Post-Modernism. But these artists and their clay works from Rankin Inlet come from a different legacy and creation mindset and deserve a wider awareness and appreciation as part of the Canadian ceramic mix.
The Matchbox Gallery revived ceramics in Rankin Inlet in 1990 after government sponsored efforts from 1964 to 1977 declined. This revival was spearheaded by Jim and Sue Shirley and, of course, the Inuit artists themselves. In 2002 the efforts were reinforced by the establishment of the Kangirqliniq Center for Arts and Learning.
Exhibitions of Rankin Inlet ceramics have been held in such major locations as the Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, and more recently, the Art Gallery of Burlington.
Visit the Matchbox Gallery website and click on the Permanent Collections link to the right for images, in three ceramic groupings, that are at the same time both familiar and unfamiliar, and for information on the artists themselves.
By the way, if you would like to see more this subject, let me know by adding comments below. Feedback is always appreciated.