Stephanie Comer and Rob Craigie

Chicago, IL

Inuit Art Quarterly - - COLLECTING GUIDE -

Our first piece was a wall hang­ing by Naomi Ityi, given to us by Stephanie’s fa­ther for our wed­ding in 1998. He had been trav­el­ling in the Arc­tic by float­plane and would buy art in the com­mu­ni­ties. A few years later, in 2001, we did the North­west Pas­sage by boat with him, vis­it­ing Uq­suq­tuuq (Gjoa Haven), Iqaluk­tu­ut­tiaq (Cam­bridge Bay) and Mit­ti­mata­lik (Pond In­let). It was re­ally on that trip that we be­came hooked. Our col­lec­tion has been built around works that doc­u­ment the abrupt and ex­treme changes in the way of life in the North, from artists such as Parr to An­nie Pootoo­gook and Ju­tai Toonoo. We never imag­ined it would grow to what it’s be­come. Our web­site, Ex­pand­ing Inuit, came to­gether in large part out of want­ing to get or­ga­nized. It also re­flects how much of this work came to be in our col­lec­tion, as most of it was cu­rated on­line and se­lected through pho­to­graphs and email. Most im­por­tantly though, we feel the web­site al­lows us to be bet­ter stew­ards for the work and to share it. The thing that’s been amaz­ing is how much of a com­mu­nity there is around Inuit art. A lot of the col­lec­tors we’ve met along the way have been re­ally open to shar­ing their knowl­edge, and the deal­ers have been in­cred­i­ble to work with—you can re­ally trust them, and they are great ed­u­ca­tors. We re­ally can’t em­pha­size that enough; they have been hugely in­flu­en­tial.

03 Naomi Ityi Un­ti­tled late 1990s Wool, felt and em­broi­dery thread 73.7 × 96.5 cm COUR­TESY EX­PAND­ING INUIT

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