Oviloo Tunnillie: Meditations on Womanhood
Marion Scott Gallery
Vancouver BC Sept 27Nov 2, 2008
Oviloo Tunnillie, Tired Woman (2008), serpentine [Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver BC, Sep 27-Nov 2]
Meditations on Womanhood is the first solo exhibition by renowned Cape Dorset artist Oviloo Tunnillie in more than a decade. Her artwork is considered unconventional in the sense that it is highly personal and emotional. She often tackles socially difficult themes: sexual abuse, alcohol addiction, the reality of contemporary life in northern communities, and the universal concerns of women in modern society. In particular, she is one of the few Inuit artists to choose the nude as a subject. At the age of 58, Tunnillie's compelling work has earned her a place at the forefront of contemporary Canadian art.
Prompted in part by her recent struggles with cancer, Tunnillie created 16 stone sculptures of women for Meditations on Womanhood. The beautiful serpentine works range between 5 and 26 inches. By turns brooding, anguished, stoic and hopeful, the figures convey a world of emotional depth in their simplified forms.
Oviloo Tunnillie began sculpting in the early 1970s. Even while raising six children, she continued to make a living by carving. One of only a handful of women sculptors in Cape Dorset, she worked outdoors under harsh weather conditions most of the year. In recent years, Oviloo moved her family to Toronto and then to Ottawa.
During the 1990s, her figures invited public acclaim for what was perceived as her feminist interpretations. They can be found in many public and private collections of Inuit art, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Her work has been exhibited in places as diverse as Sweden, Germany and New Mexico.