Woven & Sewn in Time is an extraordinary collection of woven and sewn artworks created by artists living from Alaska in the west, through British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Arctic Canada in Nunavut and Nunavik, to Ontario and Labrador in the east. The only exception is the inclusion of works by Māori artists from Aotearoa (New Zealand) in our quest to continue our cross-cultural connection across the Pacific.
The original idea of this exhibition was to support exceptional woven Inuit grass baskets being made in the Canadian Arctic. The collection grew through a series of baskets coming into our hands through circumstance from Alaska and Labrador. The focus broadened even further when we discovered other woven and sewn containers, Innu tea dolls from Labrador, Dene birch bark baskets from the Northwest Territories, and Ojibway quill baskets from Ontario. We decided to take some further liberties with the “loosely woven” theme to include many varied contemporary interpretations on traditional containers. We encouraged artists to have fun, stretch their imagination, to take tradition in a more contemporary direction by utilizing new materials, colours and designs. The result is this inspired collection that includes many beautiful, innovative, often non-functional art objects ranging in materials from glass, silver, stone, brass, merino wool, jade to caribou tufting.
This exhibition was an adventure for our gallery, broadening our knowledge into the weaving world. We discovered a wealth of talent creating the most beautiful woven and sewn art. The variety, quality and originality of the artworks have surpassed our expectations. We know that there are many interested collectors around the world who will be as surprised and excited as we are.
Our thanks to the Najuqsivik Society for providing photos of the Sanikiluaq artists.
April 23 - May 14, 2016
The Spirit Wrestler team: Colin Choi, Derek Norton, Nigel Reading and Gary Wyatt, have been together now for over 30 years representing master-level Inuit, Northwest Coast, and Māori art - and for the last 20 years as the Spirit Wrestler Gallery. We are celebrating this amazing 20-year journey with a “birthday” exhibition, “Reflections 20Years”. The exhibition will feature many of the great artists from the three extraordinary cultures that we represent that have shared and supported us on this journey… and it is also a “thank you” for all of you who have made this journey so much fun! The Spirit Wrestler Gallery was founded in 1996 and quickly became one of the foremost galleries of first-nation art in North America. The name Spirit Wrestler originates from the title of the book by James Houston that tells the story of a young shaman learning his powers in the Canadian north. At the time, the gallery was looking for a name that allowed for the consideration of both traditional and shamanist-based arts here in Canada, as well as embracing the work by other artists from around the world. Early exhibitions included artists from Alaska, the Canadian Plains, and the Māori from New Zealand, being shown in the same room as Northwest Coast and Inuit art. The cross-cultural interactions have offered a unique fusion in the gallery and generated many group and solo exhibitions that we have hosted over the years. We were witnessing the trend of a growing interaction internationally between artists who were travelling far afield to research the art and modern cultural practices of other nations - and along the way, forging friendships that have endured across great distances. The last two decades have also been an exciting transition time for the arts being created by all three cultures. There was a pronounced movement towards the incorporation of new materials, such as glass, bronze, and polymers - which has opened new avenues for the art itself, both in terms of subject and scale. To be a part of seeing the artists exhibiting their work side-by-side has been very exciting and has made the Spirit Wrestler Gallery a unique and challenging experience for any visitor. We have had the privilege of representing many of the greatest Northwest Coast, Inuit, and Māori artists of our time - and have have had the privilege of showing a great number of the most important pieces produced over the last three decades. It has been an honour to share this long journey with so many great artists and clients. Thank you all so much for your belief and support.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
47 Water Street
Canada V6B 1A1
Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
3 blocks from Waterfront Station
Between Abbott St. and Carrall St.
Monday to Saturday, open 10-6
Sunday and Holidays, open 12-5
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