Rankin Inlet Ceramics @ Medalta

Rankin Inlet Ceramics @ Medalta

North Meets South

Medalta in the Historic Clay District- Medicine Hat, Alberta: Medalta is fortunate enough to host two Artists from Rankin Inlet, Pierre Aupilardjuk and John Kurok.  They were invited by internationally acclaimed artist, Shary Boyle to join her in her studios at Medalta for the month of September.

Boyle had heard rumors about a ceramic studio in the Arctic for years, and saw her first images of Matchbox Gallery clay sculptures in September 2015. “I was in Iqaluit, visiting the local museum where I unexpectedly bumped into the Director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Stephen Borys. We were both looking at Shuvinai Ashoona drawings- and started chatting” said Boyle. “As soon as I saw the work I knew I needed to meet the artists that made it.”

Soon after, she contacted Aaron Nelson, Associate Director at Medlata Potteries, to discuss a residency at Medalta in 2016 and mentioned these incredible artists. “Instantly Aaron asked if I’d like to invite some of them to join me at Medalta. I had been in the planning stages of an exhibition of my and Shuvinai Ashoona’s work at Calgary’s Esker Foundation for January 2017. With the discovery of these amazing ceramic artists and the chance to work together, the Esker and I decided to open the exhibit to include a selection of Rankin Inlet sculptures” she said.

In order to make this residency opportunity and exhibition in Calgary a reality, Shary began the process fundraising and planning.  Marnie Schreibner, a great Canadian supporter and collector of Inuit art and Matchbox ceramics, brought her to Rankin Inlet, NU in January, 2016. She met the Shirley’s, the founding coordinators of the Matchbox Gallery, and the ceramic artists. “I was a complete stranger. Without internet and cell service, a visit in person to establish trust and offer an invitation was necessary” said Shary.

“Artists Pierre Aupilarjuk and John Kurok enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to come work with me at Medalta,” said Boyle.  “Nunavut Development Corps (Rankin Inlet) agreed to support the artist’s travel, the Inuit Art Foundation (Toronto) and the Esker Foundation (Calgary) came on board to support the project. Aaron Nelson and everyone at Medalta have opened their arms to make this experience beyond supportive, educational and inspiring.”

They are working hard this September in Medicine Hat, collaborating, exploring the prairie landscape and making new connections. “A selection of the ceramics Pierre, John and I are creating at Medalta will be exhibited in our show Earthlings in Calgary at the Esker Foundation, in January 2017.”

John and Pierre will be participating in an upcoming survey of national ceramic art at The Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre as representatives of the North. “This has been a dream come true for us as artists and people, and a wonderful and rare opportunity for creative exchange between North and South,” Boyle explained.  Medalta has the pleasure of hosting Shary, Pierre and John until the end of September, 2016!

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