York U to unveil Inuit sculpture to celebrate National Aboriginal Day

Nearly a year after commissioning the carving of a 26-tonne granite boulder into an Inuit soccer player, York University is unveiling the sculpture at 1pm on June 21 to mark National Aboriginal Day.

The monumental sculpture titled “Ahqahizu”

The monumental sculpture titled “Ahqahizu” was created by Inuit carvers Ruben Komangapik and Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley with a team of assistants and apprentices, including visual art students in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) and members of the neighbourhood community.

It is part of the six-year, $3.5-million Social Sciences and Humanities Reseach Council (SSSHRC) supported Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage project aimed at recovering, preserving, documenting, facilitating and disseminating Inuit traditional knowledge and creativity, according to project lead Professor Anna Hudson in the Department of Visual Art and Art History.

Iqaluit, Nunavut-based Mathew Nuqingaq will open the ceremonial event with traditional drumming. The event is expected to be attended by York U community members, government officials and other special guests including Josh Stribbel of Torontomiutaujugut, a Toronto-based Inuit organization.

A highlight of the event will be the performance by Inuk musician Susan Aglukark, who received the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award earlier this month.

Traditional food served in a traditional manner will also be part of the celebrations. It takes place at York Lions Stadium from 1 to 2:30pm.