Arctic artefacts collected by Captain Morash

Breaking the Ice: The Morash Collection of Inuit Art

Friday, 12 February 2010 to Sunday, 12 September 2010

People have always created and embellished their environments to meet social, aesthetic, and personal needs. Look around and you will discover that there are collections everywhere in our lived environments, whether or not they are specifically identified as such.

The act of collecting is one many scholars have devoted a great deal of time and energy exploring, analyzing, and trying to explain. Collecting is noted as one method of satisfying an array of psychological needs but what exactly those needs are and how collecting thus satiates those needs is still murky. What is clear is that collecting is widespread. One commonly touted statistic is that one out of every three Americans collects something and recent work in the United Kingdom points to 50-60% of society as collectors.

What defines a collection? Alsop, an American scholar declares, “To collect is to gather objects belonging to a particular category the collector happens to fancy [. . .] and a collection is what has been gathered.” When institutions collect, they do so systematically with explicit acquisition guidelines, mandates and visions of how each item will benefit the collection aesthetically, educationally, and so on. Personal collections, as we all intuitively understand, more frequently rely on our emotional responses to items. Tied in with personal remembrances, these items become memory “souvenirs” that recall specific times, people and places in our lives, and in turn create the meaning and identity of the collection.

Captain Morash took to heart the Arctic art and artefacts he encountered during his numerous trips to the Canadian North in his role as an icebreaker captain with the Canadian Coast Guard. His personal engagement with the artists led to some special and unique acquisitions through the years.

The particular works in this exhibition are all associated with Captain Morash’s northern trips, selected by his own interest and preference with some guidance and suggestions from his family members.

Every collection is special but some capture your imagination immediately. This is one of those collections.