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New book

Tuvaq coverNew book

Book Launch

Following a long-standing relationship with the Narwhal Inuit Art Gallery, London and the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation, we are proud to announce a new, lavishly illustrated book on the history and development of Inuit Art in Britain and Europe, co-edited by SPRI's Keeper of Collections, Heather Lane and produced with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Copies of the publication are available from the Museum Shop.


Tuvaq: Inuit Art and the Modern World / edited by Ken Mantel and Heather Lane

ISBN 978-1- 906593-42-1 (sb)
ISBN 978-1-906593-59-9 (hb)
270mm x 210mm
264 pages with colour throughout
Softback £29.95
Hardback £39.95
Sansom & Company
Publication 1 June 2010


Inuit artefacts from the Canadian Arctic first came to Britain in 1738 when ivories collected in Hudson Strait were acquired by Hans Sloane and later gifted to the British Museum. But it was not for another 200 years that contemporary Inuit carvings made a significant appearance here when the art dealer Charles Gimpel staged an exhibition of Inuit art as part of the Queen Elizabeth II coronation celebrations in 1953.

Tuvaq: Inuit Art and the Modern World tells how British interest in Inuit art has grown in the past fifty years. Encouraged by a handful of committed enthusiasts and aided by a Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures award, a major public collection has now been established at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Experts from both sides of the Atlantic provide fascinating insights into how Canadian government-supported Co-operatives, crucially creating a market place for emerging artists, have produced work that transcends 'native art' and at its best is truly great art sought by collectors worldwide. There are articles on the Canadian gallery, co-operative and auction scene, while the great collection of sculpture put together by the British collector Bill Johnstone is discussed, as are the noted Claude Baud and Musée des Confluences collections in France.

A description of the history of Inuit art in Britain highlights events since it was first shown here in 1953, whilst a perceptive chapter looks at the contemporary Inuit art scene, in which the traditional emphasis on naturalistic depictions of Arctic wildlife is giving way, in the emerging generation of artists, to more present-day concerns.

Jessie Oonark, Racing kayaksTuvaq, designed to appeal to committed collectors of Inuit art and to anyone interested in the contemporary art scene, has over 250 illustrations. The images are a tribute to the Inuit, their traditions and talents,

The book's lead author, Ken Mantel, has been a stalwart supporter of Inuit art for many years, both through the Narwhal Gallery established in 1982 and the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation (NIAEF) which was registered as an educational charity in 1999. The book is a collaboration between NIAEF and the Scott Polar Research Institute and its publication coincides with the opening of the newly expanded SPRI Inuit Art Collection in summer 2010.