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Maanngat (From Here)

Nov. 29, 2016 - Feb. 8, 2017



Maanngat is Inuktitut for 'From Here', an exhibition that shines a light on Cape Dorset, an Arctic community from the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada that is internationally renowned for genre-defining drawings and print-making.

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The Drake is thrilled to present our first Inuit Art exhibition, giving our audiences a new opportunity to connect with the groundbreaking work created over many decades by artists from Cape Dorset's Inuit community. This exhibition includes historic textile work, not exhibited since 1968, as well as contemporary drawings by celebrated artist Shuvinai Ashoona. To provide context, we are also exhibiting the print-making plates used to create many of Cape Dorset's most iconic images, to give a sense of how their artistic practices have developed over the years.

We are proud to present this in partnership with the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative and its Toronto office Dorset Fine Arts, an entirely Inuit-lead organization that has worked closely with Cape Dorset's artistic community since 1959.

VESTIBULE:

Screenprinted textiles, artists unknown c. 1960s

STONEBLOCK
Lucy Qinnuayuak
Spectator Birds, 1970

BIO: LUCY QINNUAYUAK (1915-1982)

Lucy Qinnuayuak was a prolific graphic artist, well-known for illustrations of her favourite theme – the bird image, either singularly or in groups and in all sorts of situations or relationships. She also depicts other themes which spring from her personal interpretation of the Canadian Inuit traditional way of life. She was born in Salluit in northern Quebec and at a very young age along with her mother and sister, moved to Baffin Island, Northwest Territories, where they lived in Cape Dorset and in several outpost camps. She met her husband, Tikituk, a sculptor and graphic artist at Supujuak camp where they enjoyed a traditional way of life. In the early 1960’s the two moved to Cape Dorset.

Qinnuayuak started to draw in the 1960’s while living in Supujuak camp. Her drawings were turned into graphics from 1961 until 1983, excluding 1973. She also created her own plastic repertoire of forms that clearly defines the aesthetic values in her works. Over the years she has drawn many kinds of birds in various poses – the features of their eyes and feathers connecting them to each other. In her compositions movement and stability are often ambiguously juxtaposed. Qinnuayuak’s art is realistic and humorous and it reflects the traditional Inuit way of life.

ENTRANCE WALL:

Screenprinted textile, artist unknown c. 1960s

Untitled (People & Worlds), 2014
Shuvinai Ashoona
Graphite, colour pencil and ink on paper
37” x 50”

BIO: SHUVINAI ASHOONA (b.1961)

Shuvinai was born in cape Dorset in August, 1961. She is the daughter of Kiawak Ashoona and Sorosilutu, both well known for their contributions to the arts in Cape Dorset. Shuvinai began drawing in 1993. She works with pen and ink, coloured pencils and oil sticks and her sensibility for the landscape around the community of cape Dorset is particularly impressive. Her recent work is very personal and often meticulously detailed. Shuvinai’s work was first included in the Cape Dorset annual print collection in 1997, with two small dry-point etchings entitled Interior (97-33) and Settlement (97-34). Since then, she has become a committed and prolific graphic artist, working daily in the Kinngait Studios.

Shuvinai’s work has attracted the attention of several notable private galleries as well as public institutions. In an unique contemporary collaboration, Suvinai recently worked with Saskatchewan-based artist, John Noestheden, on a "sky-mural" that was exhibited at the 2008 Basel Art Fair and was shown again at Toronto’s 2008 "Nuit Blanche". It later traveled to the 18th Biennale of Sydney in 2012 and in 2013 it was part of ‘Sakahans’ an exhibition of international Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada. In 2009 her work was presented alongside Toronto-based artist Shari Boyle at the Justin Barnicke Gallery at Hart House. Shuvinai, who is gaining more international attention, is also the subject of a documentary art film, Ghost Noise, produced and directed by Marcia Connolly.

BACK WALL:

Editioned Etching plates:
1. 1995 Ravens Gather, Kenojuak Ashevak
2. 1996 Moonlit Crossing, Mary Pudlat
3. 1996 My Mother’s Camp, Mary Pudlat
4. 1996 Winter Bear, Sheojuk Etidlooie
5. 1996 Sedna’s Attendants, Kakulu Saggiaktok
6. 1997 Guardian Owl, Kenojuak Ashevak

Uneditioned Etching plates:
1. (Bird Spirits), Kakulu Saggiaktok
2. (Human/Bird/Fish Spirits), Kakulu Saggiaktok
3. (Wolf/Whale Spirits), Kakulu Saggiaktok
4. (Man With Bird Arms), Kakulu Saggiaktok
5. (Man/Fish Spirit), Ohotaq Mikkigak
6. (Woman & Man on Land), Napachie Pootoogook
7. (Three Kayaks), Arnaqu Ashevak
Presented artist biographies, in alphabetical order:

ARNAQUQ ASHEVAK (1956-2009)

Arnaqu was born near Cape Dorset on south Baffin Island in 1956. He is the adopted son of Kenojuak and Johnniebo Ashevak.

Arnaqu began carving in the early 1980’s and is perhaps better known for his three-dimensional work. He does not make simple carvings but rather constructions of various and often unconventional materials. With assistance from the Inuit Art Foundation Arnaqu took a 5-week residency in 1981 at Banff Centre for the Arts where he worked with ceramics for the first time. He has also participated in several printmaking workshops sponsored by the West Baffin Co-operative in Cape Dorset.

KENOJUAK ASHEVAK (1927-2013)

Kenojuak Ashevak was one of Canada’s most acclaimed graphic artists. Her long list of achievements and honours is surpassed only by her stamina and good humour.

Born on south Baffin Island at a camp area known as Ikirisaq, Kenojuak grew up traveling from camp to camp on south Baffin and in Arctic Quebec (Nunavik). As a young woman, she was married to Johnniebo and lived with him in various camps including Keakto, a scenic area seven miles from Cape Dorset. While still living at Keakto in the late 1950's, both Kenojuak and Johnniebo first experimented with carving and drawing. They moved to Cape Dorset in 1966 but Kenojuak’s immediately captivating drawings were included in almost every annual Dorset print collection since 1959. In 1961 she was the subject of a film produced by the National Film Board about her traditional life and art. The film is still shown today, and was instrumental in introducing her to the world beyond Cape Dorset. In 1970 her print, Enchanted Owl (1960) was reproduced on a stamp commemorating the centennial of the Northwest Territories, and again in 1993 Canada Post selected her drawing entitled The Owl to be reproduced on their .86 cent stamp.

She was a Companion in the Order of Canada, which she originally received in 1967. In 1992, she was awarded Honourary Degrees from both Queen's University and the University of Toronto. In 1996 she received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Ceremony in Vancouver. Kenojuak traveled all over the world as an ambassador for Inuit art and in 2008, she added to her list of honours the Governor General’s Award for excellence in the visual arts.

SHEOJUK ETIDLOOIE (1929-1999)

Sheojuk was born in 1929 on a small point of land near Akkuatuloulavik outpost camp (South Baffin Island). Her parents were Aashuyuliak and Shuvega. Her husband was Etidloie, brother of Pauta Saila, the well-known Cape Dorset sculptor. Sheojuk spent her childhood and early adult life in the traditional Inuit way of moving from camp to camp in the summer and back to the winter camp in fall. In 1994, Sheojuk brought some sealskin appliqué work to the Co-op for sale and was encouraged to try her hand at drawing. She returned a few days later with a drawing of two owls that was printed and released as “Upinnuquaq (94-31)”. This print was featured on the cover of a 1994 catalogue and sold out within days of its release.

Sheojuk’s work has been represented in all print collections released by Dorset Fine Arts since that time, including the special 1996 Spring Etching Folio. In a very short time she had developed a very enthusiastic audience for her work, receiving her first solo exhibition of original works at Feheley Fine Arts in Toronto.

OHOTAQ MIKKIGAK(1936-2014)

"I enjoy doing colourful drawings, of people, animals, birds and especially the landscape. I used to enjoy hunting on the land, so that’s what I draw. I’ve done a few drawings of shamans, although I’ve never seen one. They are stories, true stories, told by my grandmother." -Ohotaq Mikkigak

Ohotaq was born in 1936 and lived in Cape Dorset with his wife Qaunak, who is a carver and traditional throat-singer. Ohotaq began drawing in the early years of the print program in Cape Dorset, and his print, Eskimo Fox Trapper, was released in 1961. He became less involved with drawing as the community grew, working full time instead for various community agencies. After his retirement from his job as caretaker of the Peter Pitseolak School in Cape Dorset, Ohotaq resumed his interest in drawing. In the later years Ohotaq was a daily fixture at the table in the Kinngait Studios, working on drawings covering a wide range of themes and subjects, including an illustrated life history. Ohotaq had his first solo exhibition of prints and drawings in 2010, and in 2012 a number of his large scale drawings were exhibited in a highly acclaimed show alongside Venerable Canadian artist Jack Bush at the Justina M Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto.

NAPACHIE POOTOOGOOK (1938-2002)

Born at Sako, a traditional Inuit camp on the Southwest coast of Baffin Island, Northwest Territories, Napatchie Pootoogook was the only surviving daughter of one of Inuit art’s most important figures, Pitseolak Ashoona. Along with her sculptor brothers, [Namoonai, Koomwartok, Ottochie], Kiawak and Kaka Ashoona and her graphic artist sisters-in-law, Mayureak and Sorosiluto Ashoona, Napatchie belongs to a family with a strong artistic identity that contributed significantly to the reputation of Cape Dorset art and the printmaking studio of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative.

Although much of her early work, such as the print, “Eskimo Sea Dreams” (1960), presents a lyrical, dream-like reflection of Inuit beliefs in the spirit world, the main thrust of her prints and drawings since the mid-1970’s were more concerned with recording traditional life, clothing and local Inuit history. Her interest in landscape and Western notions of spatial composition would seem to grow out of this experience. Napatchie’s work in later years focused on local history and stories about people and events in the Cape Dorset area, often with accompanying text to explain the circumstances, amassing a unique and important body of work.

CEE POOTOOGOOK (b.1967)

Cee Pootoogook was born on August 1, 1967. Around 1990, Cee began carving and developed a solid reputation for his curious and well executed depictions of spirits and transformations. In 2009, Cee gave up sculpture and began work as a stonecut printer. In a very short time Cee demonstrated an aptitude for the precise and methodical qualities required for the time consuming work of editioning prints. He has also been drawing for the past several years, depicting the day to day activities of community life as well as traditional subjects and wildlife.

Cee is the eldest son of the late Napachie Pootoogook and Eegyvadluk Pootoogook, and older brother to the well-known Cape Dorset contemporary artist, Annie Pootoogook.

MARY PUDLAT (1923-2001)

Mary Pudlat was born in 1926 in Arctic Quebec near the present-day community of Povungnituk. She migrated to the Cape Dorset area in the early 1940’s, settling in the Cape Dorset area. Mary married Samuelie Pudlat, a widower with two small children. His brothers were Pudlo and Osoochiak, both well-known graphic artists. They lived in numerous small camps in the South Baffin area until Samuelie began full-time, wage employment in 1960 with the newly formed West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative. At that time, Mary started to draw. Her first work was published in 1966 and she has contributed work to the annual graphics collection ever since. She was also commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories to create a large mural to hang in the new Iqaluit Visitor’s Centre which opened in 1991. Her work was typically charming on the surface but often contained complex references to another time and place; the camp scenes of her childhood and the stories she heard as a young girl growing up on the Ungava and South Baffin peninsulas.

KAKULU SAGGIAKTUK (b.1940)

Kakulu was born in 1940 on the Hudson’s Bay Company’s supply ship, “Nascopie” en route from Clyde River to Pangnirtung. At that time, her parents and older brother were members of a small group of Inuit who travelled from south Baffin Island to trap and hunt furs in the northern regions of the Island. Kakulu’s mother was Ikayukta, a well-known graphic artist and her older brother was Qavaroak Tunnillie, a well-known and prolific sculptor. She is married to Saggiaktok, who for many years was a printmaker in the stonecut studio. He would frequently proof and edit those images by Kakulu which had been chosen for stonecut prints. Kakulu began to draw in the early 1960’s when the newly established co-operative introduced its graphic arts project. Her style has evolved considerably over the years and is known for her playful and yet sophisticated sense of imagery.

STAIRS:

SHUVINAI ASHOONA
Untitled (Community Group), 2013
Graphite, colour pencil and ink on paper
48” x 48”

CAFE:

Framed Drawing:
SHUVINAI ASHOONA
Untitled (Woman & Child), 2006
Colour pencil and ink on paper
40” x 13”

SHUVINAI ASHOONA
Untitled (Co-op Store), 2014
Graphite, colour pencil and ink on paper
36 1/4” x 36”

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Please join us for a symposium on Inuit Art on Sunday, January 29, 2017 - RSVP here.