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Bart Hanna Kappianaq Unveils Sculpture at Parliament Hill

Apr 08, 2019
by Evan Pavka

A high relief, sculptural tympanum Sedna with Friends, featuring the central figure of Sedna surrounded by a walrus, whale and narwhal on the rippling Arctic waters, by renowned Iglulik-based sculptor Bart Hanna Kappianaq was unveiled on the morning of Monday April 8, 2019, at the Canadian Parliament Complex in Ottawa, ON. Commissioned last year, the installation, which measures approximately 65 x 84 cm, coincides with the 20th anniversary celebrations of the creation of Nunavut as a Territory as well as the closing of Centre Block for significant renovations.

“I feel very honoured that my piece will be a part of the Parliament Buildings,” Kappainaq said, “and that the generations to come—my grandsons and granddaughters—will be able to see it, even when I’m not around."

Since summer 2018, Kappianaq has been an artist-in-residence working on the completion of the sculpture, which took roughly four months to carve. The final piece was presented at a ceremony at Centre Block with the Honourable Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons and will be displayed in West Block until it will be permanently installed in the House of Commons Foyer following the restorations.

As previously reported by the IAQ Online, in 2017 nine shortlisted artists were invited to submit maquettes from where a jury comprised of Curator of the House of Commons Johanna Mizgala, the Dominion Sculptor Phil White and additional experts selected Kappianaq’s design of the sculptural tympanum. This commissioned work is the final piece in the House of Commons legacy projects to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Kappianaq’s highly detailed works address Arctic life, traditions and legends by using sculpture as a medium to explore both cultural heritage and trauma. Working with various media ranging from white marble, soapstone, serpentinite, baleen and walrus bone to alabaster and more, Kappianaq began carving in the early 1960s and went on to study Canada as well as the United States. His work has been exhibited across Canada, the United States and France and is included in the collections of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, NT, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Government of Nunavut and the Inuit Art Centre in Winnipeg, MB, among many others.

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