This early stonecut is a masterpiece of compression. At first glance, it depicts whales swimming in a cove. But the figures along the shore in the rear of the picture tell the story of Lumiuk and the whales. Lumiuk was a blind boy who was abused by his mother. One day, his mother positioned him in front of an opening in their igloo, and told him to shoot the bear that was outside. Lumiuk did so, but his mother told him that he had missed. She then kept all the bear meat for herself, giving Lumiuk only scraps. Lumiuk went down to the shore, where a loon was able to restore his sight. Lumiuk returned to the igloo, and told his mother to accompany him to the shore so that he could hunt whales. Lumiuk told his mother to secure the harpoon line around her waist, so that a harpooned whale would not be able to escape. In fact, when Lumiuk harpooned a whale, it dragged his mother to her death, as Lumiuk intended.
Kiakshuk | Lumiuk and the whales, Ed. proof | | Alaska on Madison
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Jessie Oonark, Woman
31 3/16 x 21 3/4 in.
This dramatic, color-filled stonecut is one of Oonark's seminal images of a strong Inuit woman. Oonark was the premier graphic artist in Baker Lake. Her designs use simple lines and strong color contrasts.
Jessie Oonark | Woman | | Alaska on Madison
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Kananginak Pootoogook, Summer Owl
28 3/4 x 21 in.
This stonecut combines abstraction with Kananginak's always acute observation of birds to produce a dynamic image.
“Kananginak Pootoogook, sculptor, designer, draftsman, printmaker (born in Ikerrasak camp, south Baffin Island, NWT, 1935). Son of the great camp leader, Pootoogook, he came to Cape Dorset in 1958, when James Houston brought printmaking to the North. He became one of the four original printers. Kananginak works in all media, including silk-screen printing of textiles. However, he excels as an engraver and lithographer, particularly of wildlife art, which he has mastered completely while retaining a personal style with definite abstract qualities. His sister, Napatchie and brother, Paulassie, are also good artists.” *
*George Swinton, “The Canadian Encyclopedia”, (Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers Ltd., 1985) Page 932.
Kananginak Pootoogook | Summer Owl | | Alaska on Madison
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Itee Pootoogook, Floe Edge, Winter
14 1/2 x 41 1/4 in.
Itee Pootoogook has reduced the floe edge in winter to three color blocks, capturing the vast, featureless scene in a serene image.
Born in 1951 in Kimmirut (formerly Lake Harbour) on southern Baffin Island, he moved to Cape Dorset when he was still a child.
A meticulous draughtsman, Pootoogook looked primarily to contemporary northern life for his subject matter. He was especially interested in modern local architectural forms, producing works in graphite and coloured pencil that depict various contemporary buildings in Cape Dorset. Pootoogook’s portraits of acquaintances and family members similarly bear witness to the North of today. Featuring a minimum of incident, these understated images celebrate the mundane moments that make up the everyday. Pootoogook was also an inventive landscapist. Many of his finest Arctic landscapes make use of extended formats, giving emphasis to the open horizon that separates land from sky. Although some compositions were produced from a combination of memory and imagination, Pootoogook based many of his drawings on photographs, an aspect of his artistic process that further highlights his contemporaneity.
Itee Pootoogook | Floe Edge, Winter | | Alaska on Madison
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Isah Koperqualuk, Legend, 23/25, 1961
Stencil, 24 x 29 in.
It is hard to believe that this very rare print was an early experimental print from Povungnituk. The design is streamlined, and the transformation is treated so subtly that it is easy to miss many of the details. One sees the wolf in the parka immediately, but on closer inspection one sees that this is a left-right trransformation. The right forepaw and right hind leg are still vulpine, but the left limbs are human. The creature holds a fishing jig in its left forepaw. The sophistication of the image is breathtaking, especially when one remembers that this print was made in 1961, the first year that Povungnituk released editioned prints.
Isah Koperqualuk | Legend, 23/25 | 1961 | Alaska on Madison
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Parr, Children chasing dogs, 31/50, 1965
13 3/4 x 30 1/2 in.
Parr's prints stand out among the early Cape Dorset prints, with their bold black-and-white textures (thanks to sensitive interpretation of Parr's pencil drawings by the printmaker, in this case Iyola Kingwatsiak) and complete disdain for scale. Many of Parr's prints show hunting scenes; this print is a light-hearted departure, showing children chasing dogs.
Parr | Children chasing dogs, 31/50 | 1965 | Alaska on Madison
An early experimental stencil print from Baker Lake. This rare image came from the Albrecht Collection of Arctic Art, which acquired it from a former RCMP officer, who acquired it from the artist. Like Legend, the simultaneous simplicity and sophistication of the design are surprising in an early, experimental effort.
Effie ANGALI'TAAQ ARNALUAQ | Whimbrels (curlews) | 1965 | Alaska on Madison
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Nicotye Samayualie, Untitled landscape, 2012
Coloured pencil and pentel pen on paper, 19 1/2 x 51 in. (49.5 x 129.5 cm)
Nicotye Samayualie is one of the rising stars among Cape Dorset graphic artists. In this diptych, showing a landscape near Cape Dorset, the artist repeats similar elements with subtle variations to create a dynamic image.
Nicotye Samayualie | Untitled landscape | 2012 | Alaska on Madison
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Davidialuk Alashua Amittu, Waiting for Canada Geese, 43/50, 1977
Stonecut, 12 x 14 in. (30.5 x 35.6 cm)
Many of Davidialuk's prints are based on legends, but this print is derived from daily life. A hunter waits in a blind for a flock of geese to land, hoping to bag his dinner. Although relatively small in size, the geese are beautifully detailed. A legend in Inuktituk along the bottom of the image describes the scene.
Davidialuk Alashua Amittu | Waiting for Canada Geese, 43/50 | 1977 | Alaska on Madison
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Ningeokuluk Teevee, Lumaaq taken to the deep, 2011
Graphite, colored pencil and pentel pen, 25 9/16 x 19 5/8 in. (65 x 50 cm)
Ningeokuluk Teevee presents a contemporary take on an episode from the legend of Lumaaq (the blind boy and the loon) in this one-of-a-kind drawing. According to the legend, the loon told the blind boy that if he climbed on the loon's back and let the loon take him under the water, his sight would be restored. In Ning's drawing, the boy is holding onto the loon's feet; one can just make out the tips of the wings, complete with Ning's distinctive pen-and-ink feather detail. A delicate trail of bubbles and the blue background gently suggest that the boy is underwater. (By the way, the treatment worked, and Lumaaq regained his sight.)
Ningeokuluk Teevee | Lumaaq taken to the deep | 2011 | Alaska on Madison
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Janet Kigusiuq, Back River Landscape
Colored pencil, 30 x 22 1/2 in. (76.2 x 57.1 cm)
Janet Kigusiuq (1926-2005) was the eldest daughter of Jessie Oonark, the foremost Baker Lake graphic artist. After several decades of printmaking, Kigusiuq turned to color pencil drawings (of which this is one) and tissue paper collage. This drawing demonstrates Kigusiuq's masterful use of color and abstract pattern to suggest a river landscape.
Janet Kigusiuq | Back River Landscape | | Alaska on Madison
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Hanna Kigusiuk, Women with their amauti designs, 1987
Graphite pencil, 22 x 30 in.
Provenance: Albrecht Collection of Arctic Art. This pencil drawing is virtually a pattern-book for designs of classic amauti (women's parkas), with detailed front, back, and side views.
Hanna Kigusiuk | Women with their amauti designs | 1987 | Alaska on Madison
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Tim Pitsiulak, Sedna's Giants (diptych), 2012
Graphite and colored pencil, 19 5/8 x 51 1/8 in. (50 x 130 cm)
Tim Pitseolak's drawings combined meticulous draftsmanship and close observation of the world around him, both the natural world and modern machinery. He said: "I am a hunter and I know the land and animals of the north. I am particularly inspired by the bowhead whale, because nobody really knows much about them. My inspiration to be an artist comes from my aunt, Kenojuak Ashevak, because she is the oldest and the best." This diptych incorporates both Tim's beloved bowhead whale, and also a sedna/narwhal. Tragically, Tim died in January, 2017. SOLD
Tim Pitsiulak | Sedna's Giants (diptych) | 2012 | Alaska on Madison
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Malaya Akulukjuk, Sunrise at Tanaqaaq, 9/20, 1988-89
Wool, 40 1/2 x 54 in. (102.9 x 137.2 cm)
Malaya Akulukjuk was the premier designer of Pangnirtung tapestries. This marvelous tapestry has a glowing sunrise sky above hills populated with ptarmigan and topped with inukshuks. Like all Pangnirtung tapestries, it is meticulously finished; the back is almost indistinguishable from the front. Another weaving of this design hung in the Canadian Houses of Parliament in Ottawa.
Malaya Akulukjuk | Sunrise at Tanaqaaq, 9/20 | 1988-89 | Alaska on Madison
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