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Website to sell Tlicho art

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Published Monday, August 31, 2009

BEHCHOKO/RAE-EDZO - Tlicho arts and crafts are about to reach a global audience.

The Tlicho government and Tlicho Community Services Agency have launched an online store where Web users can view and purchase Tlicho-made art, clothing, books and paintings.

NNSL photo/graphic

Mabel Migwi, an artist from Behchoko living in Yellowknife, shows off her supply of homemade purses and debit card holders. Migwi is just one of several Tlicho artists whose work is now available for purchase online on a new store linked to the Tlicho government's website, - Guy Quenneville/NNSL photo

"It's off the website," said Giselle Marion, a project coordinator with the Tlicho Investment Corporation, which will administer the site.

In addition to arts and crafts, the site will provide people the opportunity to order hardcover versions of books and publications, including the Tlicho Bible, which have previously only been available at the Tlicho government's office in Behchoko.

The website will be a helpful way of exposing people to Tlicho culture, which has recently gained international attention in the form of a History Channel documentary on the Tlicho people, said John B. Zoe, acting CEO of the Tlicho government.

"It aired in the US on May 4," said Zoe, adding, "It's done something for sure."

Zoe said the Tlicho website has averaged 7,000 hits a month in the wake of the documentary.

Products on the site will be organized according to their creator, each of whom will have their own profile.

The profile will include contact information for each artist, giving the customer the choice to order via the website or contact the artist for more information.

"We'll take you to the source rather than be an agent," said Zoe.

The site is especially beneficial given the expense of starting a gallery, added Zoe.

"The traditional method of (promoting) those things would be a storefront type thing," he said.

"Those things are expensive. We have some history of large investment and things not going anywhere."

Mabel Migwi, an artist from Behchoko currently living in Yellowknife, who designs purses and debit card holders, said that even though she already has her work on display at Down to Earth Gallery in Yellowknife, any further form of promotion is welcomed.

"I want my stuff to be marketed," she said.