Inuit Sculpture from the Collection of the TD Bank Financial GroupApril 7, 2006 - April 7, 2006
ItuKiag?tta! is an expression that means “How it amazes us!” in the Labrador Inuktitut dialect. This exhibition features some of the finest sculptures from the TD Bank Financial Group’s (TDBFG) Inuit art collection, representing an early, vital period in the development of Inuit art. Throughout its history the TDBFG has been a generous patron of the arts. In keeping with this role, it is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the tour of this exhibition. The tour has been organized in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada, which is marking its 125th anniversary this year.
In the early 1960s, construction of the TD Bank headquarters at the corner of King and Bay streets in Toronto was well under way. The famous architect Mies van der Rohe encouraged Allen Thomas Lambert, then President and chairman of the TD Bank, to complement the building’s interior with great works of art. In 1962 a small number of paintings was purchased for the executive offices.
In May 1965 Lambert announced the establishment of a comprehensive collection of Inuit art. He had managed the Yellowknife branch of the Bank of Toronto from 1946 to 1947. Between 1965 and 1967 committee members travelled throughout northern and southern Canada purchasing artworks, whichincluded carvings, graphics, ivory miniatures, and ceramics from Rankin Inlet. To ensure that the Bank’s collection contained examples of early works, the committee approached private collectors such as Jerry Twomey and Ian Lindsay. The end result was a collection of nearly 1,000 pieces, dating from 1945 to 1967, which included works by artists from all art-producing communities across the Canadian Arctic.
Installed on the observation deck on the 55th floor of the TD Bank Tower, the collection was prominently on display when the Centre officially opened on May 14, 1968. Thousands of visitors came to the building ? at that time the tallest structure in the British Commonwealth. Although the observation deck was closed in 1977, many people still associate the TD Bank with Inuit art because they remember seeing the carvings on display as they enjoyed the spectacular view of the city.
In 1982 when work on a fourth tower began, the plans included the construction of a new gallery, devoted exclusively to Inuit art in the main foyer and on the second level mezzanine. Since opening in March 1986, the gallery has been operated free of charge to the public. This touring exhibition will be an opportunity for people beyond Toronto to enjoy a selection of 51 pieces from this landmark collection.