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i u a pi pu pa ti tu ta ki ku ka gi gu ga mi mu ma ni nu na si su sa li lu la ji ju ja vi vu va ri ru ra qi qu qa ngi ngu nga lhi lhu lha

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Jean Blodgett

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Jean Blodgett (1945-2020), curator, researcher, and force in the field of Inuit art, passed away in December 2020 in Fairbanks, Alaska. Her dedication to researching Inuit art spanned decades, beginning with her graduate thesis Multiple human images in Eskimo sculpture, completed at the University of British Columbia in 1974. She was a prolific writer and curator, organizing numerous influential exhibitions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Tuu'luq/Anguhadlug, 1976; Port Harrison/Inoucdjouac, 1976-1977, Karoo Ashevak, 1977; Looking South, 1977; The Coming and Going of the Shaman: Eskimo Shamanism and Art, 1978; and Eskimo Narrative, 1979) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Grasp Tight the Old Ways: Selections from the Klamer Family Collection of Inuit Art, 1983, and North Baffin Drawings, 1986). Upon moving to Ottawa she turned to independent work and held a teaching position as an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University. Her most highly acclaimed book, Kenojuak, was published by Firefly Books in 1985 and went through six editions. These successes led to her role as chief curator at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, where she organized and wrote numerous exhibitions and publications, including The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition, 1965-1990, 1989; In Cape Dorset We Do It This Way: Three Decades of Inuit Printing, 1991; Strange Scenes: Early Cape Dorset Drawings, 1993; and Three Women, Three Generations, 1999. Upon leaving her post at the McMichael, she moved to Alaska and turned to freelancing, where she continued to write, edit, and research, as well as serving as a cultural guide on Arctic tours. She took on the role of Professor of Arctic Art at the University of Alaska for a time before continuing her freelance work, which included organizing the innovative cross-cultural exhibition In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun: Sami and Inuit Art 2000-2005 as a visiting curator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 2007. Her enormously influential contributions to the field, as well as her dedication and passion as a researcher, are sure to continue to inspire current and future scholars, collectors, and lovers of Inuit art.

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