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About John Houston







1994 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection

Introduction by John Houston, Arts Advisor




I flew back to Pangnirtung March 30th because, the day before, fire had gutted the print shop. After assessing the damage to works on paper, I left, the printmakers' feelings of shock and dismay clinging to me with the smell of the smoke. Back again two months later, I was met by looks of resolve and determination. We had a collection to bring out.


Printmakers transformed a borrowed building into a workspace, while Ed McKenna reordered materials we could not salvage. Artists made new drawings to replace the blackened ones. Etching and litho presses ruined, all stoneblocks destroyed but one, Pangnirtung would have to rely on stencil fortunately a technique at which they excel.


The Uqqurmiut never stopped to discuss a theme for the 1994 collection. When a master drawing appeared, someone would start cutting stencils the same day. If a theme has emerged, it may be that of relatedness, as the artists reaffirm their ties to the land, the animals, and each other.


The goal of the Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association is to build a home, in harmony with its beautiful surroundings, for the graphic arts in Pangnirtung a safe place, meeting the unique needs of printmaking, and large enough to serve also as a learning centre. Visitors to the Baffin Region would find a warm welcome there. Please join me in wishing the Uqqurmiut success finding a new home, and success with this collection.


John Houston
Advisor to the Pangnirtung Printmaking Program, 1975-1979


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This page was last updated on Monday February 21, 2005