Pitseolak Ashoona, Night demons of sky and earth, 19/50, 1961/54, 1961
Stonecut, 24 1/4 x 36 3/4 in. (61.6 x 93.3 cm)
Printer: Iyola Kingwatsiak, 1933-2000
Pitseolak Ashoona was a prolific graphic artist. Her prints were included in the annual Cape Dorset Print Collection every year from 1960 until 1983, when she died. In "Pitseolak: Pictures Out of My Life," she said, "I know I have had an unusual life, being born in a skin tent and living to hear on the radio that two men have landed on the moon. . . . To make prints is not easy. You must think first and this is hard to do. But I am happy doing the prints."
Pitseolak is the matriarch of an artistic dynasty. Her sons Kiugak, Kaka and Kumwartok Ashoona, were prominent first-generation stone sculptors, and her only surviving daughter, Napachie Pootoogook, was a talented graphic artist whose own daughter, Annie Pootoogook, carried on the family's artistic line. This early print is reminiscent of Kenojuak Ashevak's "Night Spirits" from 1960, but Pitseolak's version has a dynamic, unified structure, suggesting a more orderly community of spirits.