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Gallery launches Kivalliq first

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Nov 01/06) - The Matchbox Gallery in Rankin Inlet is looking for a permanent home for the first database in the Kivalliq to feature artists of all disciplines and backgrounds.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Artist John Kurok of Rankin Inlet works on his latest piece at the Matchbox Gallery this past week. - photo courtesy of Jim Shirley

Gallery spokesperson Jim Shirley says the database is currently connected to the gallery's website and has 17 artists listed to date.

He says while most of the 17 listed are from Rankin, artists from across the region will be added in the near future.

"We're looking for someone to host the database and tend to it properly," says Shirley.

"It needs to be promoted and inquiries followed up on and forwarded to the artists.

"If interest is expressed in a piece from the site, we need someone to be an intermediary between the buyer and artist to facilitate the sale."

Shirley says the gallery developed the site to give a presence to artists who, ordinarily, wouldn't have one in the region.

He says while the gallery was able to provide a few extras, like providing its phone number for artists who don't have a phone, it doesn't have the personnel to give the site the attention it deserves.

"We're looking for a core-funded organization to take care of the database because it could really be helpful to a lot of artists.

"This is a whole new area of promoting artists in remote locations and we need it handled properly, which includes having it advertised in Inuit Art Quarterly.

"Promotion is the key to putting collectors in touch with artists to buy their work."

The gallery is in the midst of its sixth year of hosting various workshops for local and regional artists.

The workshops are overseen by The Kangirqliniq Centre for Arts and Learning, a non-profit board comprised of artists who have gone through gallery programming.

The board created the traditional arts workshop, which features an academic component.

The Matchbox Gallery will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and has work up for consideration by the National Gallery.

Shirley says the pieces will be included in an Inuit art collection at a new museum being built in Toronto.

"The project is being co-ordinated by the David Harris group.

"The feds cutting support for museums hasn't helped the project, but I met with them this past weekend and was told it's going ahead."