For our 30th anniversary issue, the IAQ asked 15 leading figures in Inuit art to nominate an early-career artist to watch. In turn, those artists selected a senior talent who has inspired them. The result is “30 Artists to Know”, an expansive portfolio exploring the intergenerational, familial and community-based bonds that are made visible through art.
Corner Brook, NL
Sandra Hollett is a determined, outgoing and very energetic recent graduate from the Fine Arts program at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, and, coincidentally, the daughter of my first cousin. But this isn’t why I chose her. My belief is that if a person, no matter their age, is willing to enroll in an art program and further their education, then that alone is a testament to the future of Inuit art and something to be noted and celebrated.
Sandra is the kind of artist who is very willing to try new and different techniques. She has sewn, thrown, painted and printed pieces of art that all hold Inuit ways and traditions in them. To me, her work is a prime example of something that I have been talking about in my own career since I started: even though some artworks may not look Inuit, that is beside the point. The fact is if an artwork is made by an Inuk, it is Inuit art.
Sandra is always thinking of ways she can incorporate new ideas into her work while also injecting them with old traditions. The Inuit art world needs young people like Sandra to keep stories, traditions and ways alive. They may not look the same or have the same purpose, but that is what art is about—incorporating new ideas and ways. Because of young people like Sandra, we can be sure that that will happen. – Michael Massie
Choosing one person who has inspired my work is really hard. I want to say that my whole community inspires me. One important influence would be Michael Massie, who is a relative, but also, I would say his mom, Hannah Massie.
Aunt Hannah used to make all kinds of things and would show me how to make them too. She could make pretty much anything. I was told that she even liked to paint, which I never knew. Although she isn’t making crafts anymore, what I remember most were these little pincushions. When I was young, she showed me how to make them from a plate! You draw a circle and then gather the fabric before stuffing it and making the head; that’s how she made her pincushions. I made one a long time ago, but it was super loose stitching; I wasn’t very good at sewing then. I was recently asked to make pincushions for three women in our family “Aunt Hannah-style”. I was much more successful this time. I loved going over to see Aunt Hannah because she would bring her projects out to show me and would also listen to me as I showed her what I was doing. – Sandra Hollett
Michael Massie, CM
Massie is a Nunatsiavummiut artist known for his use of clever puns and symbolic imagery. Often working in mixed-media, including bone, metals and stone, Massie’s May-Tea (1991), a sterling silver and maple teapot, was featured on the cover of the Spring 1996 IAQ (11.1), the first of three covers to feature the artist.
These profiles appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.
30 Artists to Know Feature