WAG and the joy of finding a female stone carver

WAG and the joy of finding a female stone carver

memaid on sled wag

Just last week I had the pleasure of a serendipitous trip through the Winnipeg art gallery. I was downtown on a hot summer day, tagging along with someone on an errand. As we drove by the big limestone building I said, ” Hey! I am going to walk through the art gallery.” It will be a trip through memory lane, I thought. I have spent many an afternoon meeting up with my younger sister or with my Ukrainian baba to wander through those pale stone corridors.

I was pleasantly surprised that there were three, yes three— 3. Great venues to marvel at. And for twelve bucks!

There was a whole section displaying the book illustrations of Daphne and Chloe by Chagall. I recall going to see the Chagall Museum in Nice when I was in my twenties.

I have always been fond of portrait painters and had the luck to stumble upon Karel Funk’s amazingly detailed portraits. My friend soon caught up with me and we walked through Oviloo Tunnillie’s sculptures. We ambled through the gallery with  traditional inuit music playing in the background. I loved the wooden portrait of the artist that another artist had carved and painted.

mermaid sculpture full wag

I am embarrassed to admit that when I walk through the Inuit sculpture section I often feel dulled by the figures of polar bears and men in big parka’s with a spear in hand. But I suppose I had never seen sculptures by a woman before. I marvelled at the content. A carving of a man sitting on a toilet. A young girl surrounded by strangers in veils about to whisk her away in a car for a lengthy stay in a hospital far from home. A figure on a sled. A man holding a passed out woman. A dark mermaid. Birds.

I discovered Inuit sculpture is not always traditional. I loved that these pieces were created by a woman.  The figures in stone portrayed different periods of Oviloo’s life. I was hooked.



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