January 9, 2006
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)
The following is being distributed at the request of The Rooms Corporation:
Invitation: the Quilt of Belonging and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) launch Arctic tour
Invitation: the Quilt of Belonging, Canada’s largest, most comprehensive textile art project, in partnership with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), an Ottawa-based national organization devoted to representing Canada’s four Inuit regions, today launched its six-stop tour across Canada’s Arctic. The quilt, on display at The Rooms Provincial Museum since September 19, 2005, was dismantled and prepared for shipment to Nain, capital of the new Nunatsiavut Government in Labrador, the first of its stops. The Arctic tour represents more than two years of work to manage the logistics and is a first in its genre.
The tour begins in Nain at the Jens Haven Memorial School on January 20. It continues to the Nunavik region of northern Quebec with exhibitions in Puvirnituq (January 27-29), and the Kattitavik Town Hall in Kuujjuaq (February 2-5). In the Nunavut Territory the quilt will be shown in the St. Judes Parish Hall in Iqaluit, the capital, from February 10-14, and at the Rankin Inlet Community Centre from February 18-20. The Arctic tour will conclude with an exhibition in Inuvik February 25-27 before moving on to Yellowknife and Whitehorse in March.
A critical component of this two-month journey is the support of Air Labrador, Air Inuit, and First Air. These airlines are donating their resources to take the quilt and a team of volunteers across Canada’s Arctic. Without sponsorship of this kind, cultural projects from southern Canada would not be able to tour the Arctic regions. ITK and The Rooms join with the Invitation project to applaud the commitment made by Arctic airlines to fly this work of art across the Arctic and to make this a truly national Canadian tour.
Invitation and ITK share a vision to bring together Canada’s north and south through the message carried by The Quilt of Belonging, a 120-feet long tapestry made by cultural groups from across Canada. The rich, cultural legacies portrayed in the 263 blocks include all of Canada’s First Peoples and every nation of the world as all are part of the Canadian mosaic. There are six Inuit blocks. Launched on April 1 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the quilt has been drawing crowds in museums across Canada. It moved to The Rooms in September where it has been viewed by thousands of visitors from across the province.
Jose Kusugak, president of ITK has coined the phrase that "Inuit are First Canadians, and Canadians First." He has also been quoted as saying, "there’s no need to tug on the corners of this quilt, there is room for everyone." That statement directly reflects artist Esther Bryan’s mission to portray "a place for all" in Canada through the collection of textiles, techniques, stitches and stories that weave together in her tribute to Canada’s diversity.
"This quilt literally knits the country together," adds Mr. Kusugak. "Viewers are not left indifferent to the magnitude of this project. It touches people on many levels and addresses our essential humanity. It is provocative in a very positive, thoughtful way. It's no wonder that the spirit of volunteerism has propelled this project along over the years, as it breathes of community involvement. It's also a reminder that when we as individuals take a leap of faith, great things can happen. It sends a message of hope."
Additional support has come from the Inuit Secretariat of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND), Sears Canada, NAV Canada, the Nunatsiavut Government, Makivik Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Torngasok Cultural Centre (Nain), Jens Haven Memorial School (Nain), Puvirnituq Community Centre, Kuujjuaq, Tivi Transport, St. Jude's Parrish Hall (Iqaluit), Town of Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet Community Centre, M&T Enterprises, la Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau Québec, Frobisher Inn, Siniktarvik Hotel.
For more information and for ongoing tour highlights log onto www.invitationproject.ca or www.itk.ca. The stunning companion book Quilt of Belonging, the Invitation Project can also be ordered at the Invitation Web site.
Invitation is a registered non-profit organization whose board consists of volunteers representing different areas of expertise but who together share a common vision. For a history of the project including the list of board members and corporate sponsors please visit the Web site www.invitationproject.ca.
2006 01 09 2 :10 p.m.
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