Tom Web­ster


Inuit Art Quarterly - - TRIBUTE -

Art dealer and de­vel­oper Tom Web­ster first trav­elled north in 1968 for a teach­ing po­si­tion in Kangiq­tu­gaapik (Clyde River), NU, and it was there that he first be­came in­volved with Inuit artists, as­sist­ing them with mar­ket­ing their work to south­ern au­di­ences. Af­ter mov­ing to Iqaluit with his wife, He­len, Web­ster opened a small ex­hi­bi­tion space in a for­mer liquor store in the early 1970s which they trans­formed into the ter­ri­tory’s first mu­seum. Both be­lieved strongly that a lo­cal mu­seum show­cas­ing art from the re­gion was es­sen­tial. Work­ing with the ter­ri­to­rial gov­ern­ment (then the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, to­day Nu­navut), the Web­sters set aside works for dis­play in the mu­seum. Even­tu­ally, the col­lec­tion found a home at the Nu­natta Su­nakku­taan­git Mu­seum, es­tab­lished in 1983 in the for­mer Hud­son’s Bay build­ing. In ad­di­tion to be­ing in­te­gral mem­bers of the mu­seum com­mu­nity, Tom and He­len opened their own gallery space Iqaluit Fine Arts Stu­dio and later an arts whole­sale busi­ness, Arts In­du­vik Canada, with lo­ca­tions in both Iqaluit and Mon­treal. Tom Web­ster was deeply com­mit­ted to his com­mu­nity of Iqaluit and equally so to it’s artists. He is deeply missed through­out both the North and South for his life­long com­mit­ment and stead­fast cham­pi­oning of Inuit artists.

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