Cerny Inuit Collection
Curator(s): Martha Cerny, Founder and Curator
Number of works: 1,000+ Inuit
First work(s): The collection is based on an 1990s acquisition of 120 sculptures, lithographs and textiles, reportedly owned by a German friend of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Recent acquisition(s): Billy Merkosak’s double-sided whalebone and antler sculpture, Our Culture in Times (2015). The piece features symmetrical compositions of human figures and wildlife, including incredibly detailed plumage surrounding a central owl.
Significant exhibitions: Broadly, the mandate of the collection is to make Inuit art visible and accessible to a European audience. A recent exhibition that served this goal was Linked: When Contemporary Art Creates Awareness about Climate Change (2015-16), which toured to Monaco and Switzerland.
Interesting/unique/surprising works in the collection: The collection includes 14 rare batiks (wax-resist, dyed cloth works) from Puvirnituq, created in 1973, which as far as we know have never been exhibited. The holdings also include a significant mixed-media sculpture by Floyd Kuptana titled Sedna Laments the Loss of Polar Ice (2007).
The next exhibition outside the museum will be in Geneva for the Permanent Mission of Canada to the World Trade Organization, the United Nations and the Conference on Disarmament on the occasion of the Geneva Book and Press Fair. An exhibition is also planned for the POLAR2018 conference in Davos, Switzerland, in June 2018. — MC