The McMichael to honour award-winning Arctic ethnographer Norman E. Hallendy for his support of the gallery and achievements in preserving Inuit culture and language   


KLEINBURG, ON—On Sunday, April 23, 2017, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will hold a ceremony to honour and celebrate Norman E. Hallendy, an award-winning Canadian ethnographer, photographer and author whose support for the gallery over the past 35 years has enriched the McMichael’s collection of art and archives by and about Inuit people.

Distinguished friends and colleagues of Norman Hallendy, 85, and his wife, Diana Cousens, along with the McMichael’s new Executive Director, Ian Dejardin, and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Andrew W. Dunn, will gather to celebrate Hallendy’s many archival and art donations to the McMichael, and to acknowledge the importance of his internationally recognized ethnographic work on the Arctic, which is now held by the gallery.

Through donations spanning from 1980 to 2015, Norman Hallendy has gifted to the McMichael over 70 works of art, over 12,000 still images, and almost 47 hours of original video revealing details of traditional life, communities and the environment of Southwest Baffin Island in Nunavut. Another valuable component of his archives is the semantic field documenting the South Baffin dialect of the Inuit language.

In a gesture of appreciation to acknowledge the significance of Hallendy’s contributions to Canadian cultural history and the enrichment of the McMichael’s collection, the gallery will unveil a special tribute during the ceremony in honour of Hallendy and his important work.

It is because of Hallendy’s foresight to document a dramatically changing world that a segment of Canada’s cultural heritage—that of the Inuit people of South Baffin—is now formally preserved.

“The McMichael is extremely grateful to be the recipient of Norman Hallendy’s treasured life’s work, which preserves an important body of traditional knowledge for future generations,” said Ian Dejardin, the McMichael’s Executive Director.

“Originating from one of the world’s foremost Arctic ethnographers and experts on inuksuit and Inuit sacred sites, Hallendy’s documentary photography and ethnographic research have provided context for the McMichael’s Inuit art holdings, and have positioned the McMichael as a leading research and resource centre for Inuit culture in Canada,” Dejardin added.

Hallendy’s scholarly accomplishments are the result of cultivating close relationships with the Inuit of Southwest Baffin Island for over 50 years. During many trips made to the Canadian Arctic, he interacted with Inuit communities, becoming a respected and trusted friend to the elders, and was granted the privilege of seeing and photographing inuksuit and other ancient sites. Hallendy became one with the community—living among the people, participating in everyday life, learning their language, and experiencing their physical environment. While there, the elders of Cape Dorset bestowed upon him the name “Apirsuqti”, which translates to “the inquisitive one.”

Hallendy’s long relationship with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection began in 1980 when he donated a sculpture by Inuk artist John Tiktak, which was followed by another art donation nine years later. With his 1989 gift of Inuit prints, drawings, and sculptures, he began an even more important tradition. Over the next 25 years, Hallendy gradually entrusted his life’s work on the Arctic to the McMichael until eventually, in 2015, The Norman E. Hallendy Archives holdings were complete.

As the only major gallery with a mandate to exclusively collect and celebrate The Art of Canada*, the McMichael boasts an impressive collection of works by Inuit and First Nations artists, and is the custodian of approximately 100,000 works of art from the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative Limited of Cape Dorset.

As evidence of the value of the Hallendy Archives, three hundred and fifty of his landscape photographs will augment a forthcoming virtual museum that will provide accessibility for all Canadians, and the world at large, to virtually curate exhibitions of art from the Cape Dorset Archive (CDA). The McMichael acts as a custodian of the CDA on behalf of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative. Organized by the McMichael, this online resource is developed with the support of the Virtual Exhibits Investment Program, Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC). The VMC is managed by the Canadian Museum of History, with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Norman Hallendy is an award-winning Canadian ethnographer, photographer, chronicler of Inuit life, and author of three books: the newly published An Intimate Wilderness: Arctic Voices in a Land of Vast Horizons; Tukiliit: The Stone People Who Live in the Wind; and Inuksuit: Silent Messengers of the Arctic, which explores the sacred and mysterious inuksuit. He is also the recipient of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society Gold Medal and the Mungo Park Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

His adventurous spirit, vision to preserve traditional knowledge, and generous donations to the McMichael carry on the spirit of the McMichael founders, Signe and Robert McMichael, in celebration of Canadian art and culture.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of over 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information:


Media Contacts:

Simona Panetta
Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2210
[email protected]

Nick Foglia
Director, Communications, Marketing and Sales
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2265
[email protected]

*The Art of Canada is an official mark of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.


Norman E. Hallendy (born 1932)
A tupqujaq (doorway through which shaman entered the spirit world) in the Saatturittuq area, southwest Baffin Island 1999
The Norman Hallendy Collection, Gift of Norman E. Hallendy, 2009
McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives