For almost fifty years, TD Bank Group has been collecting Canadian art. In the mid-1960s, the bank began collecting contemporary artwork for spaces in the new Mies van der Rohe-designed Toronto Dominion Centre in Toronto. Around the same time, TD initiated a remarkable collection of Inuit art in honour of Canada’s Centennial in 1967. Inuit Ullumi: Inuit Today highlights how these two distinct collections have begun to coalesce, creating a unique dialogue about place, identity, diversity, and history.
If the best contemporary art pushes boundaries, challenges expectations, and illuminates some aspect of the human condition, the recent wave of artwork from Canada’s North is a resoundingly powerful statement. Inuit art has long been a fascinating window onto a remote and culturally complex place; ideas of the North, whether real or invented, have captured our imagination for many years. Over time, the materials, style and subject matter have become distinctive and discernable.
The reality of contemporary life in the North is a hybrid of tradition and modernity, beauty and hardship; families still eat fresh seal, but they do so in their homes while the television plays Dr. Phil in the background. If you think you know what today’s Inuit art ‘looks’ like, this exhibition might surprise you in its diversity and unpredictability.
Shuvinai Ashoona, World View, 2011
Itee Pootoogook, Cape Dorset at Night, 2011