Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
October 13, 1999
Inuit artist to receive honorary degree; featured in exhibit, lecture
NOTE TO MEDIA: Irene Avaalaaqiaq will be available for media interviews during her visit. To arrange a time, contact Alex Wooley at (519) 824-4120, Ext. 6982 or Lori Hunt, Ext. 3338.
Artist Irene Avaalaaqiaq will receive an honorary degree from the University of Guelph for her contribution to the development of Inuit art and her leadership role in the Nunavut community of Baker Lake.
Avaalaaqiaq will receive a doctorate of laws Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the convocation ceremony for the Ontario Agricultural College and the College of Arts. She will address the audience through a translator. The event will be held in War Memorial Hall at 7 p.m.
Avaalaaqiaq, along with Nunavut art dealer Sally Qimminu'naaq Webster, will also give a free public talk Monday, Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the University's Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.
The art centre is featuring an exhibition of her work, "Where Myth, Dream and Reality Intersect: The Art of Irene Avaalaaqiaq," until Feb. 20. It also has commissioned a large wall hanging and six drawings, paid for through funds raised by art centre volunteers.
Avaalaaqiaq's drawing, printmaking, wall hangings and sculpture have been featured in several national and international exhibitions and are part of numerous collections. Her works are also part of two touring international exhibits by the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre. She was born in the Kazan River area of Nunavut and spent the first 13 years of her life in relative isolation. Both her parents died early in her childhood and she was raised by her grandparents. She learned from her grandmother how to sew caribou clothing, skills that she used in creating wall hangings after moving to Baker Lake in 1958. Much of her subject matter deals with Inuit traditions from legends passed along by her grandmother. Avaalaaqiaq is also a mentor to younger artists in Baker Lake.
For media questions, or to obtain a photograph for publication prior to the event, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338