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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Department of Anthropology, Arctic Studies Center

Textile Art from Baker Lake

Transformation Textile

The textiles displayed in this collection are unique and important documentation of the transition from one way of life to another. Sewing was a necessary skill for women to create clothing and other necessary items for their family. The needles were made of caribou parts and thread of sinew. The artists utilize traditional Inuit women’s sewing practices to tell the stories of a people’s relationship with the land and a cultural imagination that is quickly falling into the annals of the past. Five of the artists are now deceased.  Using vibrant colors and patterns, the wall hangings convey the stories and moments of their life.

Previous venues for "Culture on Cloth":

Portland Library, Portland, Maine (2012)
Skidompha Library, Damariscotta, Maine (2012)
Camden Library, Camden, Maine (2012)
Port of Spain, Trinidad (2011)*
Fine Arts Museum of Neuquen, Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina (2011)*
University in Neuquen, Patagonia, Argentina (2011)*
University in Mendoza, Argentina (2011)*
Universidad Nacional, Rosario, Argentina (2011)*
Canadian Book Symposium, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2011)*
Cabildo Town Hall, Asuncion, Paraguay (2011)*
North American Cultural Center, San Jose, Costa Rica (2011)*
Museo Ixchel, Guatemala City, Guatemala (2011)*
National Museum of Anthropology, San Salvador, El Salvador*
Canadian Cultural Center, Paris, France (2009)*
General Public Library, Chalons en Champagne, France (2009)*
Tourouvre Museum, Tourouvre, France (2009)*
Shemanovsky Museum Complex, Salekhard, Siberia (2008)*
Museum of Nature and Man, Khanty-Mansyisk, Yugra (2008)*
National Museum, Vilnius, Lithuania (2008)*
Museum of Decorative Arts, Riga, Latvia (2008)*
Anokhi Museum, Jaipur, India (2007)*
Indian Institute of Craft and Design, Jaipur, India (2007)*
Capitol Library, Beijing, China (2006)*
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China (2006)*
Jiangsu Gallery, Nanjing, China (2006)*
Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China (2006)*
Nanjing Performing Arts School, Nanjing, China (2006)*
Nationalities Museum, Kunming, China (2006)*
Senate Chambers, Mexico City, Mexico (2006)*
Colegio de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico (2006)*
Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China (2006)*
Yunnan Ethnology Museum, Kunming, China (2006)*
Modern Art Gallery of Mongolia, UlaanBaatar, Mongolia (2005)*
Hokkaido Canada Society, Sapporo, Japan (2004)*
International Cultural Studies Association, Tokyo, Japan (2004)*
TEPCO Center, Tokyo, Japan (2004)*
Alhondigo Museum, Guanajauto, Mexico (2003)*
Echigo Tsumari, Nigata, Japan (2003)*
Bermuda National Gallery, Hamilton, Bermuda (2003)
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City, Mexico (2003)*
Obispado Museum, Monterey, Mexico (2003)*
Universidad of Guanajuato, Guanajauto, Mexico (2003)*
Canadian Embassy, Washington, D.C. (2002)*

*Sponsored by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada


Dates exhibition will be shown:

October 12, 2012- December 2, 2012

Where exhibition will be featured:

Ripley Center, Main Concourse

Ripley Concourse Layout


About the Curator:

Judith Varney Burch Headshot

Judith Varney Burch, a research collaborator at the Arctic Studies Center in the National Museum of Natural History and honorary board member of Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association (NACA). Most recently, as Inuit art specialist, Judith has curated the show “Cultures on Cloth,” a collection of tapestries by Baker Lake artists. The exhibit has traveled to more than 14 countries and its catalog has been translated in 12 languages. 

Links for further information about the Curator and the collection:

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