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March 16, 1988 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-16

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ARTS
The Michigan Daily Wednesday, March 16, 1988 Page 7

'Inuit Drawings'

makes

only U.S

0

By Lauren Shapiro

Refreshingly innovative and not to be missed -
this is all you need to know about Contemporary Inuit
Drawings now showing for the first and only time in
the United States at the University's Museum of Art.
Mame Jackson, associate dean and assistant
professor at the School of Art, researched and helped to
organize the exhibit which she claims is "a unique
opportunity to see one-of-a-kind work that has not been
as accessible" as sculptures and prints. All 83 pieces
reflect a culture untarnished by outside influences.
These works are direct and expressive in content,
revealing the celebratory nature of the Inuits
themselves. Subjects include Arctic game animals,
people in traditional dress engaged in everyday
activities, mythical heroes, and folklore tales.
Although the Inuits live in the Canadian Arctic,

they prefer not to be referred to as Eskimos. As
Jackson explains, "They grew to maturity depending
for their survival on the flesh of fish and birds and of
the animals of the sea and land. During the short
summers they lived in skin tents and through the long
winters, in snow houses."
Until the last 30 years, they lived in huts, and while
their culture has progressed in many ways, they still
remain a hunting people. At the same time, they have
expanded their economy to include mineral
development and some tourism, creating a market for
their distinctive artistic creations.
These expansions in art are very recent because the
Inuit were not introduced to paper and pencils until the
early 1960s. Judith M. Nasby of the University of
Guelph's Macdonald Stewart Art Centre in Ontario
explains, "Drawing within Inuit cultures as a whole
has progressed from the incised decoration and
markings on tools and sacred objects in prehistoric
times, to a means of communication between Inuk and

explorer, whaler and anthropologist, from the 18th and
20th centuries. In the contemporary period, drawing for
purely personal pleasure, pride of workmanship, as
well as economic necessity, has motivated the artists."
Because of these recent cultural developments, many
of the artists are second generation Inuits ranging in
age from 20 to 30. All of the works presented in the
exhibit relish the energetic, intimate, and almost
spiritual qualities which inhabit the Inuit culture.
Jackson says the works come "untrained, out of the
richness of their imagination ... it is the least
commercialized of art forms - unaffected by market
tastes."
In Ruth Annaqtuusi Tulurialik's "Hunting on the
Land in Summertime," the traditional roles of the Inuit
come to life in vibrant colors and shapes. Both men
and women are seen as hunters, workers, and caretakers.
The equality and unity within the Inuit community is
clearly represented.

ippearance
In "Sun and Three Birds," Kenojuaak Ashevak
creates a flowing vision of the sun, connecting it to the
wings of the birds as they expand their flight almost to
the exterior of his page. Ashevak has experimented
many times with these forms, often using skin bags
and clothing as his canvas.
A great deal of the art in this exhibit develops a
circular theme of life, love, work, play and personal
introspection. For an uplifting and once-in-a-lifetine
experience, st by the museum and experience
Contemporary I at Drawings. You may never have
another chance.
CONTEMPORARY INTUIT DRAWINGS will be
at the University's Museum of Art until March 20.
The museum's hours are Tuesday- Friday 10 a.m.- 4
p.m. and Saturday- Sunday 1-5 pm. For information
about the exhibit and special movies and tours, call the
museum at 764-0395.

Books

Were We Our Broth-
ers' Keepers? The
Public Response of
American Jews to the
Holocaust, 1938-1944
By Haskel Lookstein
Vintage Books
Paperback/ $8.95
The answer to the question
Rabbi Lookstein poses in the
book's title is a definite "no." No,
American Jewry did not organize
public rallies commensurate with'
the enormity of the tragedy in Eu-
rope. No, American Jewry did not'
petition President Roosevelt with
enough requests to suspend immi-
gration quotas, allowing more
refugees to enter the country. No,'
American Jewry did not give unified+
support to missions that were to
rescue the victims of the Holocaust.
Records
The Nighthawks
Live in Europe
Varrick
This is solid, hard-driving, good
time, beer-drinking, shake-your-
booty rock 'n' blues. T h e
Nighthawks have been doing it
longer than most - some 15
years- and it shows. They are a
very, very tight, if not spectacular
band. Frontman Mark Wenner's har-

Lookstein cites a November 1977
letter to the editor of The New York
Times, written by Hadassah Presi-
dent Bernice Tannenbaum, "The
chief lesson of the Holocaust is that
we were silent when we should
have shouted."
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, chair-
man of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the
United Jewish Appeal and President
of the New York Board of Rabbis,
strives to go beyond mere infliction
of "Jewish guilt" when he attempts
to identify the reasons for American
Jewry's unsatisfactory performance.
It is his goal to evaluate these rea-
sons on the allegedly disloyal
community's own terms. He cites
the Talmud's (the ancient book of
commentary and Jewish law) apho-
rism, "Do not judge another until
you stand in his place," as a basis
of evaluation. To stand in the place
of a community that existed a half a
century ago, Lookstein relies on
more than 20 Jewish and secular
periodicals from across the United

States.
From these sources, he comes
up with a number of conditions that
might have tempered the American
Jewish response to the Holocaust:
the anti-Semitic mood, evident
from the popularity of Father
Charles Coughlin's frighteningly
popular, bigoted radio program; an
unquestioning faith in the wisdom
of the President - an emotion dif-
ficult to comprehend nowadays; and
the refusal to acknowledge, despite
all the reports, "something that was
inherently unbelievable." All lead
to a greater understanding of what
paralyzed a traditionally active
community. "But to understand is
not necessarily to excuse," states
the author.
While this sentiment might
seem too judgmental for a historical
analysis, Elie Wiesel, the unofficial
Jewish voice on the Holocaust, an-
swers that complaint in the preface
of the book, "Lookstein judges no
one. No one has the right to judge.

Lookstein can only relate his own
pain." The pain, of course, is con-
siderable, and the writer uses suit-
ably grand terms when he expresses
his conclusions.
Ultimately, the purpose of this
book is neither to pardon nor con-
demn American Jewry of the '30s
and '40s. The lessons of the book
are meant to be taken to heart by
Jews and Gentiles alike. Lookstein
offers the plight of the Refuseniks

in the Soviet Union, not to men-
tion other human rights violations
worldwide, as an opportunity to
demonstrate compassion as an en-
tire community. Understanding that
the sin of omission - failure to act
on behalf of a victim - is just as

deadly as the sin of commission; is
important in understanding the re-
sponse of American Jews to the
Holocaust, as well as coming to
terms with, in Lookstein's closing
words, "our sense of responsibility
in the future." -Mark Swartz

I go

9th An
Hill Str
THE
By Eu
with gi
Barry

nnual Conference on the Holocaust
eet Players presents
E LESSON
gene lonesco TrL
uest artist
Tick
Boys

HiM
Foundation

B'nai B'rith HillelI

Thur., March 17, 8pm
Saturday, March 19, 8pm
and 12 midnight
Sunday, March 20, 2pm
ueblood Theatre, Frieze Bldg.
ets Available at Hillel 663-3336

I I

I

I

TALK TO US (an interactive theatre troupe)

I

U

monica playing is the m o s t
outstanding musical aspect of the
group. He can wail with the best of
them. Vocals are the band's weak
point. The Nighthawks feature three
lead singers but all of them sound
like they've sucked down a few too
many Marlboro reds.
The Nighthawks have no trouble

covering a fairly wide range of musi-
cal territories from the rock 'n' roll
of "If You Love Me" to the rocka-
billy "Back to the City," the straight
blues of "Mighty Long Time," and
the loping country rock of "Nothin'
But You.
-Alan Paul

o

M

e-

--,

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