Title and statement of responsibility area
Marie Bouchard fonds
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- Textual record
- Graphic material
- Sound recording
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Dates of creation area
- Bouchard, Marie
Physical description area
1.81 m of textual records and other material
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Archival description area
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Born in 1953, Marie Bouchard grew up in a Manitoba farming community. She completed a Bachelor of Arts Honors degree at the University of Winnipeg in 1980, an Honors History degree in 1984 and a Master’s degree in Canadian History at the University of Manitoba in 1986. In 1985, as part of her Master’s work, she was invited by the Winnipeg Art Gallery to assist Inuit art scholar Jean Blodgett in the 1986 exhibition “Jessie Oonark: A Retrospective.” The accompanying exhibition catalogued detailed Oonark’s artistic oeuvre and her life at Back River based on interviews Bouchard conducted in Baker Lake, Nunavut.
Upon receiving a Canada Council Explorations Grant, Bouchard with her husband, Jim McLeod moved to Baker Lake in 1986 where she undertook indepth research on the people of Back River and the starvation of the 1950s. Her collection of archival research and oral history in the form of numerous documents and interviews also details the Government of Canada’s role during the relocation of Inuit from outlying camps to the fledgling community of Baker Lake during the 1950s and the Inuit survivors’ account of these events. These records are significant because they document the ensuing cultural upheaval and tragedy from starvation because of a lack of resources and Government plans to populate the North and promote sovereignty during the Cold War.
During her eleven years in Baker Lake, Bouchard developed her interest in Inuit art and economic development. She began supporting Inuit women artists and resurrected their creation of intricately embroidered wall hangings soon after arriving in the community. Bouchard eventually opened Baker Lake Fine Arts, a small, privately-owned cottage industry which brought financial support to the artists, as well as the necessary art supplies and marketing skills. With the closing of the local sewing centre, her venture allowed women in the community to continue to sew and care for their children at home. Her interests included all genres of art but primarily focused on the works on cloth which she showcased in public and commercial exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Her collection chronicles the production of Baker Lake works on cloth, soapstone carvings and drawing in the area over a ten year period through slide images, artist interviews and her library of Inuit art exhibition catalogues and books.
Bouchard was also instrumental in establishing the Baker Lake Historical Society which promoted cultural tourism and the revival of traditional knowledge for educational purposes.
Bouchard left Baker Lake for Winnipeg Manitoba in 1997. She worked as an independent art curator and consultant for the next ten years. She repatriated the representation and celebration of art by local Inuit artists by involving them in the representation of their work and hosting exhibition openings in the community. She curated major art exhibitions focused on Inuit and aboriginal art for institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Itsarnittakarvik: Inuit Heritage Centre, Plug In ICA, and in the United States at the Los Angeles Fowler Museum, and New York’s American Indian Community House, as well as at several college galleries. She also took her collection of Baker Lake works on cloth to Japan for a major international exhibition. She has delivered numerous lectures and author essays and articles on Baker Lake works on cloth, drawings, sculptures, eco-museums and tourism.
Marie Bouchard donated the A2011-095 accession in 2011, and the A2018-030 accession in 2018 to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
Scope and content
The A2011-095 accession is divided into 6 series. They include interviews, correspondence, publications, research material, photographs, and audio tapes. In total the photograph collection consists of 490 photographs, 20 negatives, 1393 slides, and 16 video cassettes. The tape collection consists of 13 audio cassettes and 1 micro cassette.
The A2018-030 accession is divided into 7 series: Artists, Electronic Records, Interviews, Photographs, Publications, Research and Slides. The contents of this fonds contains information pertaining to the work that Marie Bouchard carried out throughout her 11 years in Baker Lake. The Artist series includes material pertaining to individuals such as Jessie Oonark and Marion Tuu’luq, detailing information related to various exhibitions they participated in. The series of interviews conducted by Marie Bouchard throughout the 1990s chronicles the lives and artistic practice of several different Baker Lake artists, while the Photographs and Slides series include many different examples of the type of artwork being produced in Baker Lake. The collection also includes different types of publications concerning artist’s perspectives on their own work, exhibitions, and the important issue of Indigenous representation in artistic spaces
Immediate source of acquisition
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Language and script note
English, Inuktitut, and French
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Restrictions on access
File folders with restricted items are marked.
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Records with copyright held by others than M. Bouchard are marked in A2011-095 accession.
A finding aid can be downloaded from the fonds-level description by clicking on the “Download’ link under “Finding Aid” on the right hand side of the screen.
Generated finding aid
Further accruals are not expected.
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A2011-095 finding aid created by Jeanette Mockford (November 2012). Revised by Mary Grace Golfo (March 2017).
A2018-030 finding aid created by Emma Dux (October 2019). Revised by N. Courrier (October 2019).
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Files in collection and websites were used as sources for the description.