SAW Gallery hosting first Indigenous art market

Curator Aedan Corey is an artist from Iqaluktuuttiaq who lives in Ottawa. (Joe Tunney/CBC - image credit)
Curator Aedan Corey is an artist from Iqaluktuuttiaq who lives in Ottawa. (Joe Tunney/CBC - image credit)

The artist-run SAW Gallery is hosting its first Indigenous art market on Saturday, which will see 100 per cent of the sales go back to artists.

Curator Aedan Corey, an artist from Iqaluktuuttiaq who moved to Ottawa a few years ago, said often artists have to pay a fee, either for a table or because co-ordinators ask for a cut of the sales.

"We were hoping to celebrate and support Indigenous artists and that means the profits go to them," Corey, who is two-spirited and goes by the pronouns they and them, told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Friday.

The Ukiaqsaaq Indigenous Art Market will focus primarily on beadwork, paintings and prints, they said, and is open from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the gallery on Nicholas Street.

In Inuktitut, Ukiaqsaaq means the transitional period between summer and fall.

The market is one of the projects coming out of the gallery's new Nordic Lab, which is a space for artists from the North to exchange with people in the capital. The market will include work from Indigenous people and not just Inuit artists, though.

Corey's own drawings often centre on daily life in the North, whether those are images of fish drying on a line, mittens, or cans of Klik lunch meat.

They said those items were important to their childhood as an Inuk growing up in Nunavut, with their father making sandwiches out of Klik on fishing trips.

"I believe that it's important to showcase that culture is not necessarily just a static thing," they said.

Joe Tunney/CBC
Joe Tunney/CBC