Roger Aksadjuak, Shuvinai Ashoona, Pierre Aupilardjuk, Shary Boyle, Jessie Kenalogak, John Kurok, and Leo Napayok

Curated by Shary Boyle in collaboration with Shauna Thompson

Organized and circulated by Esker Foundation, Calgary 
August 3 – October 6, 2018
Join us for the opening reception: Thursday, August 2, 7 pm
Earthlings is a touring exhibition of ceramic sculptures and works on paper created individually and collaboratively by seven contemporary artists working from distinct cultural and geographical positions. Hailing from Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet, Kinngait/Cape Dorset, Qamani’tuaq/Baker Lake, and Toronto, the artists in Earthlings share an intuitive and labour-intensive approach to their work with materials and stories. Their sculptures and drawings merge animal and human, reality and myth, actual and imagined spaces.  
The results of creative exchange are present throughout the exhibition. Ceramic masks, pots, and sculptures by Roger Aksadjuak, Pierre Aupilardjuk, Jessie Kenalogak, John Kurok, and Leo Napayok were made at Matchbox Gallery, an Inuit ceramics workshop in Rankin Inlet on the western shore of Hudson’s Bay that encourages collaborative making and learning. Shuvinai Ashoona and Shary Boyle have been working together since 2011, and their shared drawings and sculptures are featured along with individual pieces. In September 2016, Aupilardjuk, Boyle, and  Kurok undertook a month-long residency together at Medalta in the Historic Clay District in Medicine Hat, Alberta to learn from each other, and produce new works. Results of these collective efforts are found in the exhibition. Approached through an ethos of openness, and a desire for mutual learning, Earthlings has been an occasion to build relationships and contexts for exchange, a space for experimental working, and a platform for intra- and inter-cultural dialogues to emerge.
As Shary Boyle explains: “I think of this work, my own included, as “bridge art”; it spans between things, between people, animals, space, and the earth. It spans languages. It spans the real and the unreal. The living and the dead. The past and the future. It is art to communicate, through symbols, myths, dreams, and hybrids. It connects.”
Earthlings has been celebrated in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal, and we are excited to share this exhibition in Nanaimo at its final stop, and only BC destination. Highlighting art and artmaking as a means to share understandings across languages and cultures, Earthlings is the third exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: how can we speak differently? In Hul’q’umi’num, the language of the Snuneymuxw people: scekwul yuxw ‘alu kws nec’s tu sqwal ct 
Image:  Pierre Aupilardjuk and Shary Boyle, Facing Forward, 2016, 34 x 18 x 28 cm, smoke-fired stoneware and hand-painted porcelain. Photo: M.N. Hutchinson
Reception Sponsor:                       CC-Logo Colour H
Earthlings is supported by:       NHA Logo Horizontalcr

Artist Talk with Shary Boyle

October 4 at 7 pm 
Vancouver Island University 
Building 355 (Arts and Sciences), room 203 
Presented in partnership with Vancouver Island University’s Department of Art & Design 
All are welcome, admission free
Shary Boyle lives in Toronto and works across diverse media, including sculpture, drawing, installation, and performance. Collected and exhibited internationally, Boyle represented Canada with her project Music for Silence at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Boyle's work was included in Ceramix: Art and Ceramics from Rodin to Schutte(2016), organized by the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, and la maison rouge, Paris. In 2017 her sculptures were featured in the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, and in the publication Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art (Phaidon, London). Boyle’s first public art commission will be installed this year on the front grounds of the Gardiner Ceramic Museum in Toronto. 

Tour of Earthlings 

Friday, September 28 at 12 pm
In honour of Culture Days, join us for a free lunch-hour tour of Earthlings to learn about the artists and their work.


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