Mtec have recently completed work on an extremely unique and interesting project in conjunction with Patina Art and the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge. The restoration of Aqjangajuk Shaa’s Inukshuk figure and subsequent reinstallation of the work is the latest chapter in a very interesting history for the work which began when it was commissioned by the collector Charles Gimpel in 1968.
The sculpture is made from separate blocks of granite which are thought to originate from Kinngait (Cape Dorset) and Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island) in Nunavut and was donated to the Institute and originally displayed there from 1979. Mtec were responsible for transporting the work to their bespoke viewing facility where conservators worked to restore the piece to its original condition, following years of wear and tear, minor vandalism and accidental damage. This was a highly complex process which involved contacting the artist and using the Institute’s detailed images of the work and records of previous restorations and modifications which had been made to the sculpture since 1979.
Following this, Mtec transported the work back to Cambridge where it was reinstated outside the Institute. The installation of the work is extremely technical and requires a high level of expertise when it comes to lifting the separate stones into position. The original intention of the artist was that the stones be balanced perfectly without fixing, as in drystone walling, although the work has since been modified for health & safety reasons and also to protect the work from further damage.
This project was both a challenge and a privilege to work on and the Inukshuk is now back standing guard outside the Institute for the foreseeable future.
For more information you can visit the Institute’s website (https://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/) or follow them on Instagram (@scott.polar)