The Matchbox Gallery  

   Jim and Sue Shirley, both artists who came to the Kivalliq in 1979, are the founding coordinators of the Matchbox Gallery. This unique gallery waas begun in 1987 as a cross-cultural workshop also serving as a display, production, and training centre. Our predominant concerns since 1990, have been with the production of ceramics and the delivery of community based programs. Visitors to the Gallery will see a wide range of artistic works in all media, all of which were done by the residents of Rankin Inlet, or by other artists who have taken up temporary residence. They can also talk to artists while they are in the process of completing their projects. The Matchbox is an open, communal space- a welcoming environment to all members of the community, as well as visitors who are passing through. As far as we know, we are the only privately-owned, artist-run, cross-cultural gallery/workshop of it's kind in Canada.


Our Involvement with Ceramics

   The gallery has preserved the reputation of Rankin as the only community producing Inuit fine-arts ceramics in the world. The original government-run project which inspired the Matchbox program ran from the early sixties to the mid-'70's. Since 1990, we have worked closely with community-based artists in a ceramics program which is unique to Nunavut, and perhaps the world. In addition to ceramics, our artists are active in printmaking, painting, carving and jewelry making. Our work has been exhibited in shows in institutional and commercial galleries throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Works in all media are included in institutional and private collections around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada.



Social Contributions and Innovative Programming

   Since it began, the gallery has been an important source for learning and promotion of the work of the work of Inuit artists primarily in Rankin Inlet, but also serving communities through the Kivalliq. We have also helped people get jobs and provided training for individuals who would not ordinarily have access to those services. In addition to encouraging the work of our creative artists, the Matchbox Gallery/Kangirqlinik Center for Arts and Learning is a resource for learning.

  Exterior of the Matchbox Gallery, Rankin Inlet, Nunavut        
  Interior of The Matchbox Gallery show room        
  Roger Aksadjuak at work
Yvo Samgushak at work