The Inuit Art Foundation is excited to congratulate artist Michael Massie and artist and founding member of Qaggiavuut! Ellen Hamilton, for their recent appointments to the Order of Canada. Massie was made a Member to the Order for his work as a sculptor and silversmith and Hamilton for her promotion of Inuit arts and culture, as well as her support of Arctic performers and artists.
Massie’s work brings together a variety of materials and imagery to create clever and eye-catching sculptures. Each presents something more than meets the eye and invites viewing from all angles. Since the early 1990s, Massie has been honing his craft—he even participated in the first carving workshop organized by the Inuit Art Foundation in Nain in 1991. The IAF has been a huge fan of Massie from the start, featuring his surrealist teapots on the cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly three times. Massie’s dedication to his craft has resulted in a growing international audience. His work has been collected by many major public institutions including the National Gallery of Canada. Massie is also a huge supporter of the arts in his community, and continuously advocates for Inuit artists.
"Art is about exploring and opening up minds and making people think," Massie told the CBC. "At the time when I first came onto the scene with Inuit art, there were only three major mediums that were considered Inuit art and that was stone carving, print making and tapestry." Massie became a member of the Order of Canada at ceremony at Rideau Hall on September 6, 2018.
Hamilton is a director, producer and musician. As a founding member of Qaggiavuut! she is involved in creating space and advocating for the performing arts in Nunavut since 2008. She works continuously to promote Inuit performance, working and consulting with artists to create new productions. Hamilton also works with Inuit elders and educators to assist in bridging the gap between generations to ensure music, storytelling and dancing are passed on to future generations. Currently, Hamilton is Co-Director of the Qaggiavuut!’s production Kiviuq Returns (2016), which is on tour this summer.
Congratulations Mike and Ellen!
Editorial note: This piece was updated on September 6 at 10 am.