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 Mary Kahootsuak Miki  (1920 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: Nunavut / Canada      Known for: Inuit sculpture and stone carving

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Mother and child
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Mary Kahootsuak Miki (1920 – 1993) (1)

An Inuit* (Eskimo) sculptor and carver, Mary Kahootsuak Miki appears to have lived her whole life in the District of Keewatin, Canada; mostly in the area of Arviat (formerly Eskimo Point) on the north-west coast of Hudson Bay. (2)(3)

Mary Miki began carving as a source of income in the late 1950s when she and her husband gave up the nomadic hunter life and settled in a community. She is considered self taught, as are most Inuit artists of her generation. Her carving mediums were primarily stone and antler. Her most frequent subject was mother and child. Her style could be described as Inuit Art*, Naive Art* or Primitive Art*. (4)(5)

Her carvings have been included in important exhibitions such as “The Stone Sculpture of Arviat”, at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario (1990); “The First Passionate Collector: The Ian Lindsay Collection of Inuit Art”, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba and touring (1990); and recently in “Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection”, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011). Her works have also been included in exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries, such as the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, B.C.; Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver; Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver; Snow Goose Gallery, Ottawa; and Gallery 100 Hudson, New York City.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* her carvings are in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), and the Winnipeg Art Gallery* (Manitoba).

Footnotes:

(1) Mary Miki’s Canadian government issued Inuit Disc Number* is E1437; it may have been used instead of a name to sign some of her works. Source: Katilvik.com.

(2) Please note: In 1999 Keewatin became a part the Nunavut territory of Canada, since then Nunavut has replaced Keewatin in geographic descriptions; consequently Miki’s town is now referred to as Arviat, Nunavut. MDS

(3) Mary Miki’s husband is artist Andy Miki (see AskART). Source: Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum (2006), by Ingo Hessel (see AskART book references).

(4) For general information about how and why modern Inuit art, like Mary Miki’s, developed see the AskART glossary entry for Inuit Art.

(5) Excerpt: ‘Through the 1920s caribou herds diminished as did the price of animal furs. This was accompanied, in the 1940s and 1950s, by famine and disease that ravaged Keewatin area residents. Miki moved [from Ennadai Lake] to Eskimo Point [now Arviat] in 1959, and on to Rankin Inlet, then to Whale Cove, and moved back to Eskimo Point in 1969.’ Note: Ennadai Lake is in western Keewatin (about 250 miles inland), the other locations are in eastern Keewatin on the coast of Hudson Bay. Sources: Katilvik.com and Andy Miki biography in AskART.

Sources:

Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection (2011), edited by Gerald McMaster (see AskART book references)

Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum (2006), by Ingo Hessel (see AskART book references)

The Way of Inuit Art: Aesthetics and History in and Beyond the Arctic (2005), by Emily E. Auger (see AskART book references)

Biographies of Inuit Artists (1993), compiled and published by the Inuit Art Section (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver

Katilvik.com

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com. Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx.

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.
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