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The exhibit features contemporary and antique garments from all over the arctic region. Included among the costume are artifacts and photographs that tell the story of the gathering, processing, construction, and design of both functional and special-occasion clothing for children and adults. Materials as disparate as walrus intestines, wolverine, lynx, sealskin, fox, wool, canvas, acetate, and ecopoly/spandex are represented in the collection, and are decorated with everything from beads to coins to bone dangles.
The talented exhibit team including curator/registrar Geneviene LeMoine, were able to take the Andover Figures core forms and adapt them using polyester batting and other padding materials to support the sometimes-complex and heavy garments. Some manikins employed bases and others cleverly "float" inside exhibit cases via hidden brackets. Their choice of black show fabric allowed the garments to be the center of attention and evoked the long arctic nights.
Prior to the opening, clothing designer, filmmaker, and educator Becky Qilvvaq from Iqaluit, Canada, gave a lecture, "Inuit Clothing and Identity in the Modern World." Becky was born and raised in the Inuit mountain community of Pangnirtung, in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, located on Baffin Island. She works in the Department of Social Policy at the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, and is also a photographer and master throatsinger. She was chosen to perform at the 2010 Olympics and has been travelling the world for over a decade as a cultural ambassador. Her Inuit-inspired fashions, including dresses, skirts, leggings, and art work, are available on her website inukness.com.
Visiting the exhibit also gave us a chance to see the beaded amauti that was conserved at MTS earlier in 2017. Made by Lucy Ittinuar of Nunavut, Canada, around 1970, the coat had extensive water marks and dye bleeding that MTS Director Camille Breeze and Conservator Morgan Carbone removed using a suction platen. "Threads of Change" will be up at the Peary-MacMillen Arctic Museum through December 2018.
Exhibit team: David Maschino – designer; Susan Kaplan – director; Steve Bunn – Exhibit technician; staff members
Anne Witty, Julie Santorella, Jamey Tanzer; and students Tanisha Francis and Aiden Coyle.