Lizzie Ittinuar

Four traditional doll makers from Canada's far north will be in Cambridge next week, to demonstrate their craft to the public.

Dolores Anderson (Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in First Nation), Lizzie Ittinuar (Inuit - Kivalliq region), Theresie Tungilik (Inuit - Kivalliq region) and Lillian Wright (Teetl’it Gwich'in First Nation) will demonstrate sewing and beading techniques in the Polar Museum on 31 May and 1 June.

Their visit coincides with the Polar Museum’s latest exhibition, Sewing Our Traditions: Dolls of Canada’s North, which will be on display at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge until August 20, 2011.

Sewing Our Traditions is an exhibition of hand-made dolls crafted by Inuit and First Nations artisans from Northern Canada. For generations, women in northern communities used dolls to teach their daughters the important skills of cutting and sewing hides and furs. These dolls record and reflect northern life, fashion and customs. Today, the art of traditional doll making is alive and well, with modern creators continuing to pass knowledge and skills from generation to generation.

“We are thrilled that this exhibition which features traditional Inuit and First Nations dolls from across the North will be presented in such a prestigious venue” said Mary Bradshaw, Gallery Director, Yukon Arts Centre. Founded in 1920, the Scott Polar Research Institute is a well-known and long-established centre for research into both polar regions.

Mary Bradshaw explained, “Sewing Our Traditions from the start has been a pan-territorial initiative and we are proud that this cooperation has continued and will result in sharing our northern culture and heritage internationally.”

Heather Lane, Keeper of Collections at the Polar Museum, said, “The Polar Museum is delighted to continue building its working relationship with Canadian artists. The exhibition provides insight into northern culture through the traditional skills of sewing; the pride these women take in their work is self-evident. We hope that as many people as possible will come to the talks and demonstrations on 31 May.”

The exhibition which premiered at the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, is organized and circulated by the Yukon Arts Centre with the generous support of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Governments.

The Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association and the Government of Nunavut, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and Yukon Government through Culture Quest have come together to send artists from each Territory to represent and share their aboriginal culture. A reception and a series of talks and demonstrations featuring these artist ambassadors will be hosted by the Scott Polar Research Institute on May 31, 2011.

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