cover of Tuvaq book

Cover image: Woman in Amaati with ivory amulet by an unknown artist
c.1959 green brown serpentine; Bill Johnstone Collection (photograph by Martin Hartley)

Sananguaq exhibition and our new book
'Tuvaq: Inuit Art and the Modern World"

This book has been specially produced to accompany the SANANGUAQ: Inuit Art in Britain exhibition and was a collaboration between the Narwhal Inuit Art Eductaion Foundation (NIAEF) and the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI).

The exhibition

SANANGUAQ: Inuit Art in Britain
June 2nd to September 10th 2010
(Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm) at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), Cambridge, and weekdays (excluding bank holidays) at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London.

SPRI will feature its own collection including latest acquisitions, alongside selected pieces from the private collections of Bill Johnstone and the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation. Canada House will show further exhibits drawn from its own collection, SPRI, NIAEF and other private collections from around Britain.

Our book

Tuvaq: Inuit Art and the Modern World tells how British interest in Inuit art has grown in the past fifty years. Authorities on Inuit art from both sides of the Atlantic provide fascinating insights into how Canadian Government-supported co-operatives have created a market place for emerging artists. Their work transcends ‘native art’ and at its best is art of great quality sought by collectors worldwide.

Articles cover the Canadian gallery, co-operative and auction scene, while the great collection of sculpture put together by the British collector Bill Johnstone is discussed, as are the noted Claude Baud and Musée des Confluences collections in France. A perceptive chapter looks at the contemporary Inuit art scene, in which the traditional emphasis on naturalistic depictions of Arctic wildlife is giving way, in the emerging generation of artists, to more present-day concerns.

Inuit artefacts from the Canadian Arctic first came to Britain in 1738 when ivories collected in Hudson Strait were acquired by Hans Sloane and later gifted to the British Museum. 200 years later, modern Inuit carvings began to have an impact here when the art dealer Charles Gimpel staged an exhibition of Inuit art in celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Tuvaq, designed to appeal to committed collectors of Inuit art and to anyone interested in the contemporary art scene, has over 250 colour illustrations. The images and text are a tribute to the Inuit, their traditions and talents.

The book’s lead author, Ken Mantel, has been a passionate supporter of Inuit art for 30 years, both through the Narwhal Inuit Art Gallery, established in 1982, and the Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation (NIAEF) which was registered as an educational charity in 1999.


If you are unable to get to any of the exhibition venues but wish to purchase a copy of the book which launches on June 1st 2010 please contact the Narwhal Gallery or NIAEF at

For a limited period only a signed copy of TUVAQ in hardback will be available at £39.99. The softback will also be available, signed on request, at £29.99. Both will include postage and packing within the EU. For customers outside the EU please enquire about shipping costs and options. Payment can be made by cheque to NIAEF, debit card or Visa & Mastercard.

For Canadian and American customers and galleries please email us and we will advise you how to get your copy in Toronto.

Thank you

With thanks to all those who donated towards the creation of TUVAQ, and loaned for SANANGUAQ, without which the vision would not have become a reality.



Further Information


Article by the Narwhal Gallery

A Brief History of Contemporary Inuit Art in Britain
Written by Ken Mantel of the Narwhal Gallery
published in Native American Studies (2005)

pdf Download as a PDF (396 KB)



The Narwhal Inuit Art Education Foundation (NIAEF) is a UK-registered charity and maintains the educational needs of the Narwhal Gallery. It was registered in 1999 to commemorate the formation of Nunavut.

For more information visit NIAEF

Scott Polar Research Institute  

The Scott Polar Research Institute

In 2008 the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) were awarded heritage lottery funding for Inuit Art curatorship, exhibitions & acquisition. The Narwhal Inuit Art Gallery & NIAEF were pleased to lend their assistance during the application process and welcome the opportunity to be involved in the ongoing project which will see a permanent collection of Inuit Art in the public domain housed in the new exhibition space currently under renovation in Cambridge and opening in early 2010.

For more information visit