Next year the Winter Olympics will take place in Vancouver and Northern Michigan Artists Market artist Luanne Schonfeld is pointing the way.
Luanne just brought a boxfull of her black and white photocards to the Market. One of these cards is a black and white film photograph of an inuksuk, shown here. For centuries, the Inuit people of Canada’s Arctic made these piles of rock in human form as guideposts for travelers to show them the way or warn them of danger. In other words, an inuksuk is something like an Inuit version of a lighthouse. Over time, the inukshuk has become a symbol of hope and friendship.
So what does all of this have to do with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver? The Vancouver Olympics mascot, Ilanaaq, is a symbolic representation of an inuksuk. Ilanaaq was designed by Vancouver artist Elena Rivera MacGregor. It stands for friendship and the welcoming of the world. Luanne hopes her photograph will help connect people here in Northern Michigan with the Vancouver Olympics and the cultural significance and message of friendship and welcome represented by the Olympic mascot and the Inuit inuksuk on which it is based.
We agree with Luanne and we thought that for some inspiration you might like to see what an actual Inuit inuksuk looks like so here is one of Olympic mascot Ilanaaq's most well known ancestors that stands at Vancouver's English Bay. Speaking of family ties, Ilanaaq has some American cousins as well. Piles of rocks, or cairns, are frequently used as trail markers in the United States, particularly in areas where there are no trees or structures where trail markers can be placed. Locally, some good examples exist in Wilderness State Park in the extreme Northwest corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
Luanne Schonfeld is a very talented photographer. She takes black and white pictures with real film and develops and prints them in a darkroom the traditional way with chemicals and an enlarger. We are privileged to have a wide selection of her prints and photocards at the Northern Michigan Artists Market.