Monday, October 29, 2012

For the love of Inuit Art-How it All Began

John Houston: A Life in Inuit Art

Opening Talk and Reception: Thursday, November 8th, 7pm-9pm
Show continues until November 22nd

Please join us for an exciting exhibit of carefully selected Inuit sculptures and original prints selected by John Houston.  On Thursday, November 8th, you will have a rare opportunity to hear first hand, the story of Inuit Art in Canada from John Houston. Learn about the history of Inuit art  and discover it's beauty by from personal stories told by John.  The Houston Family has more than 60 years of artistic collaboration with the Inuit of Canada, beginning in the 1950s when John’s parents, James Houston and Alma Houston, brought world recognition to the art of the Inuit people.

Many people that know me,  may also know that my life in the professional arts world began in my hometown of Lunenburg. I was working at a small cafe, where I had met Alma Houston, the owner of world renown Inuit Art Gallery, Houston North Gallery, which just so happened to be in my small town. Tourists from all over the world would visit this gallery. It was a very exciting place.

I looked forward to talking to Alma about all sorts of every day things- but I especially liked hearing her  exciting stories of the Arctic and the people she had met when she lived there.  She was a strong but caring, fair business woman whom I had come to admire and respect in my community. Come to think of it, she was one of very few female business owners in the town at the time-a true role-model. One day, she asked me to consider working for her. I remember saying, "I don't know anything about art"-- a common response to art that I hear often in my own gallery from people visiting for the first time.  My response to them, is the same one Alma told me, "You just have to know what you like and keep exploring and looking and learning".

 I worked at the gallery for years, even when I was attending university in Halifax.  I learned so much in these years about the business of art and the art of working with others, it was invaluable. Alma and I became good friends. I miss her. It's hard to believe she's been gone since 1997, but I still hear her voice often, sometimes commenting or offering advice on what to do next in this demanding world of business and art I find myself in now. I am so thankful to Alma and Houston North Gallery for giving me this gift of the love of art.

I was saddened to learn that Houston North Gallery closed it's doors this past year. Alma's son, John, and co-owner of the gallery, had maintained it for many years, but all good things come to an end. This is a hard business!  However the love of Inuit art and culture lives in John Houston.

 I connected with John this year, and asked if he'd be open to sharing some of his stories of growing up in the North and some special works from their collection. He agreed, and so on Thursday, November 8th, 7-9pm  John Houston will be at the gallery to share his knowledge and personal stories with us all.  I'm delighted and hope you will be too!

 Many young collectors probably haven't had a chance to learn about this art form or touch the stones that have been transformed into visual stories and represent an important part  of Canadian Art History-this is a wonderful way to discover this art form, or re-discover it if you are a collector of the past . A very special grouping of works will be for sale throughout the show..

We hope you will join us on Thursday, November 8th. The show continues until November 22nd at Argyle Fine Art. 

-Adriana Afford; Owner of Argyle Fine Art