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Songs in Stone (1/3)


This is also part of this series: Arctic Trilogy (3)

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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: drumsong communications
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 45 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 1999
Available in French: No

In Canada the name Houston is indissoluably wed to Inuit Art - it's simply hard to say one without the other. James Houston, author, designer, and filmmaker, went to the eastern Canadian Arctic in 1948 and was one of the first southerners to see the extraordinary potential of Inuit art. His first wife, Alma Houston, was no less an enthusiastic proponent of the Canadian Arctic and its peoples. She discovered it in July, 1950, when she went to the first exhibition of Inuit sculpture at the Canadian Handicraft Guild in Montreal. She met James Houston and six months later she was married and crossing Baffin Island by dogsled in mid-winter. There was no turning back and she worked tirelessly throughout her life bringing the vivid, powerful, and original works of these peoples to a wider public. When Alma died last year it was her wish to have her ashes scattered at Cape Dorset. The event proved a catalyst, both bringing the scattered Houston family back together, and in reuniting some of the early founders and exponents of Inuit art. It was a pivotal event for son and director John Houston himself who uses childhood memories as a prism through which to see the history of the times and the fascinating and complex development of Inuit Art over the last half century. Through this fascinating kaleidoscope weaves the story of the Houston family: the experiences they had, the haunting sights and sounds of the land we now know as Nunavut, and the role which they were privileged to play in bringing some of this rich cultural tradition to the rest of the world. NOTE: Part III of the series will be released spring 2004.