The Canadian Inuit art collection at St. Lawrence University includes more than 100 original prints, drawings, photographs, and carvings from Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung, and Baker Lake. Highly distinguished artists in the collection include Kenojuak Ashevak, Kananginak Pootoogook, Pudlo Pudlat, Kavavaow Mannomee, and Ningeokuluk Teevee. A series of editorial cartoons by the late Alootook Ipellie is also featured.
Inuit art holds a particular attraction for a university teaching collection as it offers many disciplines a starting point for discussions on nature and the environment, traditional stories, spirituality, social and political commentary, aesthetics, and design. Faculty and students in Canadian Studies, Environmental Studies, Art & Art History, English, and other departments and programs are encouraged to utilize the collection in their courses for research, writing, and oral assignments.
The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery has had a longstanding interest in Inuit art and has been actively acquiring works since the early 1990s. In 2001, as part of that year’s annual St. Lawrence University Festival of the Arts, the gallery presented From “Nanook” to Nunavut, which explored the representation of Inuit art and culture through an exhibition of prints by Jessie Oonark, drawings by Alootook Ipellie, and photographs by Alison Wright and Norman Hallendy. A faculty/student research trip to Baffin Island in 2000 provided the foundation for these exhibitions.
In 2005, an exhibition entitled Far North: Inuit Prints and Drawings from Cape Dorset focused on the work of artists from what is one of the most important and innovative centers of Inuit art. Recently, the gallery acquired the 2009 Cape Dorset print collection, which was released by Dorset Fine Arts to mark Kinngait Studio’s 50th anniversary. Nipirasait: Many Voices, an exhibition based on the 36 prints in the collection, premiered at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., in 2010, and was presented the following year at St. Lawrence University and the College of Wooster Art Museum in Wooster, Ohio. Another exhibition drawn from St. Lawrence University’s permanent collection, North of Sixty: Canadian Inuit Prints, was presented at the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia in 2014.