About DMG Exhibitions Programs and Events Collection Publications Get Involved Visit Us Home
Current Upcoming Past Touring Submissions


Pierre Aupilardjuk & Shary Boyle, Facing Forward, 2016.

Pierre Aupilardjuk, Giving Without Receiving, 2016. Photo by M.N. Hutchinson.

Shuvinai Ashoona, Composition (People, Animals and World Holding Hands), 2008.

Jessie Kenalogak & John Kurok, Ceramic Bust with Drawings, date unknown. Photo by M.N. Hutchinson.

Shuvinai Ashoona & Shary Boyle, Self Portrait, 2015.

Shary Boyle & John Kurok, Sugluk, 2016. Photo by M.N. Hutchinson.

Roger Aksadjuak, Shaman’s Muskox, date unknown. Photo by M.N. Hutchinson.

Shuvinai Ashoona & Shary Boyle, Universal Cobra Pussy, 2011.

November 1, 2017 - January 27, 2018

Works by Roger Aksadjuak, Shuvinai Ashoona, Pierre Aupilardjuk, Shary Boyle, Jessie Kenalogak, John Kurok and Leo Napayok

Curated by Shary Boyle in collaboration with Shauna Thompson
Organized and circulated by Esker Foundation

We are of the earth and from the stars, cooked mud and pigmented wax, soot and soda, ink, wood, tobacco, fur, fire, bronze, and acrylic nails – mortal inhabitants of the earth dreaming of our spiritual or extraterrestrial foil. Drawn from this framework of earthly conditions, the visionary ceramics and works on paper of Earthlings, produced both individually and collaboratively by seven contemporary artists, are at once transformative and otherworldly – and profoundly human.

Though making work from distinct cultural and geographical positions – from Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet, Kinngait/Cape Dorset, Qamani'tuaq/Baker Lake, and Toronto – the artists in Earthlings share an intuitive and labour-intensive approach to materials and narrative imagery. In these works, detailed figures are subject to transformations and transmogrifications, hybrid blendings of animal and human, reality and myth, and actual and imagined spaces. These pieces seem to emerge from phantasmagorical worlds, simultaneously fleshly and physical, sensual and spiritual, alien and familiar.


All programming is free and open to the public. Please see our PROGRAMS & EVENTS PAGE for complete details on each program.

Opening reception
Sunday, November 5
2 - 5 pm
Exhibition tour with Shary Boyle and Shauna Thompson 3 pm
Free shuttle bus departs OCAD U (100 McCaul St) at 1:30 pm, to return at 4:30 pm

Ceramics and Other Outliers in Inuit Art
Lecture by Dr. Heather Igloliorte
Thursday, November 23
7 - 8 pm
Co-presented with the Inuit Art Foundation
Registration required: inuit-art-lecture.eventbrite.ca
Free shuttle bus departs OCAD U (100 McCaul St) at 5:30 pm, to return at 8:30 pm

Introductory Ceramics Workshops
Saturday, December 9
9 am - 12 pm & 1 pm - 4 pm
Cedar Ridge Creative Centre
225 Confederation Drive
Registration required: ceramics-workshop.eventbrite.ca

Ceramics Barrel Firing Workshop with Pierre Aupilardjuk & Shary Boyle
January 13 & January 27/28
University of Toronto Scarborough & Fool's Paradise
$250 including materials, shuttle bus & food ($150 for U of T Scarborough students)
Space is limited, spots were assigned by lottery on Friday, December 22 and the workshop is now full. To be added to the waitlist, see: barrel-firing-workshop.eventbrite.ca

Artist talk by Shary Boyle
Thursday, January 18

1 - 2 pm
BV340, Bladen Wing, University of Toronto Scarborough
Part of the Visiting Artist Lecture Series, co-presented with the Department of Arts, Culture & Media

Earthlings Catalogue Launch
Wednesday, January 24
6 - 8 pm

shopAGO at the Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West)
Organized by Esker Foundation in partnership with the Doris McCarthy Gallery

Exhibition Tour by Pierre Aupilardjuk
Saturday, January 27
12 - 12:30 pm

Free shuttle bus departs OCAD U (100 McCaul Street) at 11 am, first come, first served


Roger Aksadjuak’s work is complex, inventive, and embraces multiple forms and playful imagery while respecting traditional narratives. It can be found in many public and private collections across North America, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery. He passed away in 2014.

Shuvinai Ashoona is a contemporary Cape Dorset artist whose work often combines reality and the imaginative. Ashoona’s work is in numerous collections of major art institutions, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and Winnipeg Art Gallery, among others.

Pierre Aupilardjuk’s style of work represents his strong roots in a traditional aesthetic and are included in the ceramics collection of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center, Yellowknife; the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; as well as in private collections throughout North America. He lives and works in Rankin Inlet.

Shary Boyle lives in Toronto and works across diverse media, including sculpture, drawing, installation and performance. Collected and exhibited internationally, Boyle represented Canada with her project Music for Silence at the Venice Biennale in 2013. In 2017 her sculptures were featured at South Korea’s Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, and in the Phaidon, UK publication Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramic in Contemporary Art. Boyle’s first public art commission will be installed Spring 2018 on the front grounds of the Gardiner Ceramic Museum in Toronto.     

Jessie Kenalogak
was born in Back River in the early 1950s and currently lives and works in Qamani'tuaq (Baker Lake). Working primarily in drawing, her most meaningful artistic influences came from her grandfather Angushadluk, one of the most important and respected artists ever to work in Baker Lake, and her aunt, Mary Singaqti, another highly respected Baker Lake artist.

John Kurok began working full-time as a Rankin Inlet ceramist in 1996 and is one of a new group of younger ceramicists who also work as printmakers. Kurok's work is included in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Museum of Inuit Art, Toronto.

Born in the early sixties, Leo Napayok spent most of his time growing up in the towns of Salliq (Coral Harbour) and Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet). He works as a carver in soapstone, ivory, and antler and has long been established as one of the region’s most talented carvers. His collaborative works have since become a part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

Earthlings originated at Esker Foundation, Calgary presented from January 21 to May 7, 2017.

Canada Council for the Arts Ontario Arts Council logo MBNA logo