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James Houston and the Making of Inuit Art

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In 1954, eager buyers lined up three abreast for over half a block to get into the Canadian Handicrafts Guild in Montreal where, once inside, they wrestled and argued to purchase stone sculptures carved by Inuit artists. In a short span, interest in Inuit carving became a worldwide phenomenon and a major source of income for the Inuit. Their sculptures, tapestries and prints later became the unofficial national art of Canada, gracing homes, corporate offices, postage stamps and international art showcases. This is the story of how Inuit art came to be regarded as some of the best Indigenous art of the twentieth century. James Houston, an artist as well as a brilliant raconteur and lecturer, was unquestionably instrumental in its development. His enthralling Arctic stories were a gift to journalists, but his inconsistencies became a major hurdle for historians. This book portrays the unusual alliance between James Houston and early Inuit art enthusiasts, the Canadian Handicrafts Guild and the Canadian Department of Northern Affairs. Through painstaking research, it presents their adventures, management, concerns and successes.

ISBN-13: 9781476688176

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: McFarland & Company

Publication Date: 10-06-2022

Pages: 244

Product Dimensions: 8.74h x 5.83w x 0.71d

The late John Ayre was an award winning writer and wrote numerous articles on Inuit art for the Inuit Art Quarterly. His degree in cultural anthropology, experience as a literary and art journalist, and personal interest in the Arctic and Inuit art were all brought to bear in his writing of this book.