Paris, France— Sculpted wood, dancing wood, Native American masks of the great north and the exceptional participation of Jean Malaurie, the great French explorer now in his 100th year all come together at the Galerie Orenda in Paris for an exhibition that showcases emerging and established Inuit artists and watercolors by the French cultural anthropologist, artist and writer Jean Malaurie, the author of the Last Kings of Thule, and more recently De la pierre à l’âme (From the Stone to the Soul). The pastels evoke his lands of predilection, the Far North.
The exhibition reflects the collaboration and exchanges between the Château-Musée de Boulogne-sur-Mer, (the Museum of Boulogne-sur-Mer), which is located in a medieval fortress and is the birthplace of another French explorer Alphonse Pinart, who traveled to Alaska and the Bering Straight in the 19th century. The museum of Boulogne-sur-Mer has close ties with the Alutiiq Museum of Kodiak Island off the coast of Alaska, resulting in interactions, research and the organization of exhibitions between the two institutions.
The striking masks on display at the Galerie Orenda include works by Perry Eaton and Rebecca Lyon, both established Inuit artists whose works can be found in the collections of the Boulogne-sur-Mer museum. Masks by emerging Inuit artists Brian Walker and Chris Cox are being showcased as well. Brian Walker who studied with Perry Eaton carves traditional Inupiaq masks. The Inupiaq are an indigenous people of northwestern Alaska. Perry Eaton, who is of Sugpiaq and Alutiiq heritage, spent his childhood on Kodiak Island and in Anchorage and was among the artists who revived the artistic traditions of Kodiak Island, particularly mask making.
In some Native American societies the people’s spiritual powers were believed to be the unseen force that filled the world, a supernatural force that shaped and directed life. The Iroquois called this orenda. Galerie Orenda which was founded by Nicolas and Joëlle Rostkowski, works with a wide range of artists working in various mediums and permanently exhibits Native American jewelry. The current exhibition runs through November 27th.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
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