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Current Exhibition

"Cultural Reflections"

Work from the Dennos Museum Center’s Inuit Art Collection

January 31st-March 17th

Opening Reception:
Friday, February 4 th 5:00-7:00

click picture to enlarge

Twentieth-century Inuit art from the Canadian Arctic reveals the evolution of a dynamic culture still in process. It is a reflection of life on the land; a record of daily events, a glimpse into a magico-religious spiritual belief system. It is a visual narrative which serves as a vehicle for keeping alive the old ways; the old life of skin tents and snow houses, the nomadic life when seasonal hunting dictated lifestyle and, in essence, survival. With vitality and clarity of purpose, the visual imagery brings forth what was once known only through oral tradition. The work exhibited serves as artistic documentation, preserving the past and ushering in the present. Many of the artists represented are among the last generation of Inuit to reach maturity on the land.

Worldwide awareness of Inuit artists from the Canadian Arctic has its beginnings with James Houston, the noted artist, author, and designer for Steuben Glass since 1962. In the late 1940’s, he began collecting small sculptures made by Canada’s aboriginal (Inuit) people. In 1953, he worked with his friend, Eugene Power, owner and operator of University Microfilms, to establish a non-profit gallery in Ann Arbor called Eskimo Art Incorporated. In the same year, the Cranbrook Institute of Science hosted the first exhibition of Inuit Art in the United States. The collection on display began in 1960 when Wilbur Munnecke of Field Enterprises in Chicago and Bernie Rink, the Director of the Library at Northwestern Michigan College, acquired a collection of sculpture and prints. The opening of the Dennos Museum Center at NMC in 1991 provided a permanent home and gallery for the collection, which now numbers nearly one thousand works. The current traveling exhibition marks fifty years of the exhibition of Inuit art in the United States.


For more information, please contact the De Pree Gallery Office at (616) 395-7500. Regular Gallery hours are: Sunday & Monday 1:00 -5:00 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, and Thursdays 10:00 am – 9:00 pm. The De Pree Art Center and Gallery is located at the corner of 12th Street and Columbia Avenue. The gallery is handicapped accessible. Admission is free.