Robert Bateman (right) and Abraham Ruben Anghik (left) standing in front of their artwork at an event to promote Narratives of the North exhibit. Photo – Matt Steffich.

The Robert Bateman Centre has created a new temporary gallery to feature exhibits by visiting artists and institutional partners.

On March 11, renowned Inuit sculptor Abraham Anghik Ruben will partner with artist Robert Bateman to open the exhibit Narratives from the North.

Powerful, compelling and exquisite are but a few words that describe the work of Inuit master sculptor Abraham Anghik Ruben. Stories, myths and legends of ancient Northern cultures find new life and expression in a new exhibit called Narratives from the North, presently being shown at The Robert Bateman Centre until April 14.

Linked by strong narratives from both Norse and Inuit folklore, Ruben’s sculptures speak of cultures lost and times forgotten. Since 2005, Ruben has been exploring the relationship between the Inuit and the Viking Norse, who set sail from their Scandinavian homelands centuries before the arrival of renowned European explorers like John Cabot or Christopher Columbus. Rubin’s powerful works dramatically recounts these voyages.

The sculptures are paired with paintings from Robert Bateman’s own journey to the Canadian Arctic, plus over 100 other original works on permanent exhibit at the Centre. Robert Bateman has been sketching and painting the Arctic since his first trip to Nunavik in 1952 at the age of 23, a place Bateman likens to a “a tundra Garden of Eden”.

Like Bateman, Abraham Anghik Ruben is a storyteller. From his own perspective, Ruben tells the stories of encounters between Inuit and Viking Norse from stories he has heard from his own culture. Ruben sees great similarities between the two cultures including the practice of shamanism and a respect and reverence for the land. He seeks to bring to life the experiences of the Vikings in North America from a contemporary view – stories, which have not yet found a voice.

I have always tried to learn from others, either Inuit or other elderly people who can pass on their knowledge of what life is about,” says Ruben. “I try to put that into my sculpture.

The public is invited to experience the Arctic through the eyes of Robert Bateman and Abraham Anghik Ruben on March 11th from 5:30 – 8pm at the Robert Bateman Centre (Steamship Terminal Building – 470 Belleville St).

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibit Narratives from the North, Bateman and Ruben will talk about the Arctic, their art and answer questions about their work.

Visitors can also see new Robert Bateman paintings that have been added to the permanent gallery. Refreshments, provided by Unsworth Vineyards, Hoyne Brewing, Silk Road Tea and Toque Catering, will be served.

The exhibit is sponsored by Steffich Fine Art. Space is limited – for more information and to reserve a ticket, visit www.batemancentre.org.

Tickets are $30 per person  ($25 for TRBC members)

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