Balanced and calm, this glass sculpture almost appears to be lit from within, harbouring a power source all of its own. Titled Inukshuk, the sculpture represents the Inukshuk, or carefully piled rock sculpture that act as place markers and symbols of welcome for Canada’s Inuit people. This particular collection of glass rocks has already played a starring role in a major event in Canada’s recent history.
When the new territory of Nunavut was established on April 1, 1999, Canada Post commissioned a commemorative stamp and “Day of Issue” envelope to celebrate the occasion. The artist they chose to create these works was Susan Point. When a new stamp is issued for a special event, a commemorative printed envelope and cancellation stamp (the ink stamp indicating the postage stamp cannot be used again) are created as well. An image of this Inukshuk highlights the envelope, acting as an introduction for the postage stamp.
Susan Point’s stamp to honour the creation of Nunavut features Inuit children in a multimedia illustration. At the time of the celebration, she wrote:
“In creating the illustration for the commemorative stamp on the subject of the Nunavut, I wanted to show the Inuit’s strong presence by incorporating the warm, friendly faces of Inuit children across the horizon; the young faces of the Inuit representing the future generations who will look over this great new territory. As well, I wanted to show the large land-base settlement of the Inuit by giving depth to the landscape. Shown here is a new dawn on the land; a springtime setting with the snow just melting representing a new beginning. I have also included an Inukshuk on the horizon as well as in the foreground; the Inukshuk representing guidance, comfort and welcome.” Now that the speeches and the ceremonies are over and life in the north has returned to normal, this silent, magnificent glass sculpture continues the task it was created for: marking a time and a place, watching over the children of Nunavut and offering welcome.
—Susan Point as told to Vesta Giles
Coast Salish (Musqueam)
Susan began making limited edition prints on her kitchen table in 1981 while working as a legal secretary. She received several early commissions, which established her reputation for innovative proposals and for completing projects on time, on budget and at the highest level. She took courses in silver, casting and carving, all of which led to monumental sculptures in mixed media, and she was the first Northwest Coast artist to work in glass. She continues to release a number of print editions each year, but her focus has been on commissioned sculpture.
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