Cerny Inuit Col­lec­tion

Bern, Switzer­land

Inuit Art Quarterly - - PORTFOLIO -

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

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