Plan your Visit
The McCord Museum
The Museum Team
at the McCord Museum of Canadian History
Tuesday, January 7, 1997 — The inukshuk that occupies a
place of honour in front of the McCord Museum of Canadian
History was inaugurated for the reopening of the Museum in 1992.
This stone sculpture was created by Jusipi Nalukturuk on
Naqsaluk Island off the village of Inukjuak in Nunavik (northern
Quebec), and was erected under the terms of the Politique
d'intégration des arts à l'architecture et à l'environnement
of the ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec.
The McCord Museum is proud to include this impressive piece of
Inuit art in its important collection.
Inukshuks are found in the hundreds wherever Inuit have settled. Literally meaning "that which acts on behalf of man," they are among the most remarkable structures ever built by the Inuit. In varying shapes and sizes, and most often anthropomorphic in form, these sculptures are erected on strategic sites, and are an invaluable aid to the hunter. Depending on their location, shape and orientation, inukshuks fulfill many functions. They serve as trail markers, for example, suggesting the best route to follow, or indicate an ideal campsite, the depth of the snow, a dangerous river, or perhaps a caribou trail.
inukshuks are clearly outlined against the sky or snow-covered
expanse, they are visible from great distances and serve as
landmarks to guide the traveller, both on land and water. They
may also be built to mark the site of an important event, or the place where a death has occurred,
memorable events, such as special meetings. In
addition to their practical uses, inukshuks often take on a
spiritual or sacred dimension. They may be erected in memory of
a deceased ancestor or important person, perhaps, or on a
selected by a shaman.
McCord's inukshuk will no doubt become a landmark for passers-by on
Sherbrooke Street. Its creator, Jusipi Nalukturuk, was assisted
by two young men from his village, Bobby Aupaluktuk and Allie
Nartai. A giant with humanoid characteristics, the inukshuk
measures more than 3 metres in height, weighs 9 tons and was
originally erected on Naqsaluk Island, more than 2,000 kilometres
north of Montreal. Once the work had been completed, the 200
stones were numbered and marked, and the inukshuk dismantled for
shipment. Stone by stone, the sculpture was transported by canoe
to a trawler anchored off the island. It was then taken to the
village of Inukjuak, where it was placed in a container for
shipment to Montreal, its final destination.
inukshuk was rebuilt in the workshops of the Centre des arts
contemporains du Québec in Montreal, and exhibited in the
Old Port of Montreal during the summer of 1992 as part of
Montreal's 1er Salon internationale de la
sculpture extérieure de Montréal. The sculpture was then
transported in a single piece to its new home in front of the
McCord Museum of Canadian History.
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Wanda Palma or Helen Bougas
The McCord Museum is grateful for the support of the Museum Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and the Conseil des arts de la Communauté urbaine de Montréal.