Following the commercial release of the first print collection by Inuit artists in Kinngait (Cape Dorset) on south Baffin Island in 1959, printmaking programs developed in several Inuit communities across the Canadian Arctic, including Povungnituk, Inukjuak, Ulukhaktok (Holman), Qamannituaq (Baker Lake), Pangnirtung, and Clyde River. In early days, artists often created their drawings in snowhouses and skin tents while hunting and fishing in family camps, bringing their work into town to be transformed by printmakers in the community artshop.
For over 50 years, this historic collaboration between graphic artists and printmakers has created a compelling visual record of the social, cultural and economic changes that have taken place across the Canadian Arctic. Like the singers, storytellers, and poets before them, visual artists recall the knowing ways of animals and humans, the challenges of the hunt, the insights of elders, and the need for humor and playfulness in meeting the demands of everyday life. Many of the prints included in this exhibition are autobiographical, recalling the experience of living on the land, moving seasonally to fish and hunt caribou, seal, whales and walrus; the closeness of the family; the spiritual relationship between humans and animals; the ancestral cultural practice of shamanism; and, more recently, contemporary social issues facing the North.
The works on exhibit here at The Writer’s Center provide an introduction to the remarkable history of Inuit art which continues to be produced by creative artists in communities across Arctic Canada.
OPENING TALK & RECEPTION
Thursday, March 5, 2020, 7pm
Join curator Bernadette Engelstad and collector Joram Piatigorsky for a discussion of the works on display and an exploration of Inuit art.