Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic at the Eiteljorg

November 6, 2008

Back in September the Indiana Humanities Council made the final round of grand awards for 2008 (Don’t worry, 2009 is just around the corner and more grants are on their way. Start your application early.) Humanities Initiative Grants are awarded on a competitive basis three times per year and are judged on a variety characteristics. We receive a lot of grant applications and make a lot of awards. Helping so many projects from all over Indiana go from plans to reality is one of the cooler aspects of working here. (Truth be told, I have very little to do with the grants program. Fellow Hoosierati blogger, Nancy Conner is the workhorse of that operation and she does a phenomenal job.)

All of the grants awarded go toward programs in the public humanities and all of them are interesting and important. While I was away, two programs we gave grants to already happened. We awarded a grant to the Asian Help Services to host an Asian Festival back at the beginning of October. And we also gave a grant for a civic discussion on immigration hosted by IUPU-Columbus.

Now that I’m back from Texas and have more-or-less gathered my wits about me, I would like to tell about the next event we helped to fund before it happens.

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is opening a new exhibit, Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic which is sponsored by Barnes and Thornburg and Dorit and Gerald Paul. There are two days of scheduled events planned to mark the exhibit’s opening and as part of those opening ceremonies the Eiteljorg is bringing in Kendra Tagoona and Charlotte Qamaniq to perform katajjaq, or Inuit Throat Singing.

This will truly be a unique experience for anyone that gets to enjoy it. Throat singing is a very old art and the Inuit variety is unique among cultures that practice throat singing. The IHC awarded the Eiteljorg funds for this part of their opening ceremonies and the accompanying talk where Kendra and Charlotte will talk about their culture and their own relationship with this part of their cultural heritage.

The full schedule of the two days of events is:

Schedule of events
November 15
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sale of Inuit art
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Family Activities:  Finger Puppets and Animal Carvings
10 a.m.                Lecture: The Evolution of Canadian Contemporary Inuit Art
Lorne Balshine, President of the Arctic Art Museum Society
Noon                    Peter Irniq builds an Inuksuk on the museum’s front lawn
1 p.m.                  Tour of Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic
Ashley Holland, assistant curator of contemporary art
1 p.m.                  100 Days on Baffin Island: My Experiences with Inuit Culture, Craft and Charisma
John Huston, Arctic explorer
2:30 p.m.             Throat singers performance
November 16
1 p.m.                  Public tour of Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic
2 p.m.                  Indianapolis Women’s Chorus Concert: Sound Sport

7 p.m.                  Indianapolis Women’s Chorus Concert: Sound Sport

Or go to the Eiteljorg website to read more about the exhibit (including a video of a throat singing duo.

For a little bit more on throat singing and it’s role in modern Arctic cultures, NPR did a story earlier this year.

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