Inuit Artist's Carving Featured on Millenium Stamp
By Jamie Little CBC North
RANKIN INLET, NUNAVUT - A carving by a Nunavut artist is featured on a millennium edition
postage stamp... but most people in the territory will never see it.
The stamp is called "Powers of the Inuit Shaman" and it's part of a series celebrating aboriginal achievement in Canada.
Paul Toolooktoo made the carving.
He was honoured this week during a special ceremony in Baker Lake.
The stamp shows a woman's face in transformation.
She has tusks. Where her hair ends, the hair of a muskox begins.
Paul Toolooktoo says he's proud that after 40 years of carving, his piece was chosen for the stamp.
Fred Ford runs the Qamanittuaq gallery and studio in Baker Lake, where Toolooktoo works.
"This is a stamp that celebrates the accomplishments of all Inuit artists," he says.
Staff at a Vancouver Art Gallery sent a photograph of the carving to Canada Post last year.
The stamp was issued across the country in February.
Except, not in Nunanvut.
Ford had to make a special order of the stamps... just so Toolooktoo could have a copy.
"The explanations given to me by Canada Post were that because it's a millennium collection stamps they don't issue them to rural post offices," he says. "In fact, every post office in Nunavut is a rural post office."
Mary Monture works at the Rankin Inlet post office.
She says the stamps are out of print now. Through a personal connection, she was able to order the last of them for Rankin.
"I have some stamps for the Inuit stamp coming in, and they'll be available as of next Wednesday," she says.
Toolooktoo received a framed copy of the stamp at a ceremony this week.
For everyone else outside of Baker and Rankin, the only way to see it is to buy a 60-dollar gift collection.
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