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About Dan O'Brien


1999 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection

Foreword by Dan O'Brien, Graphic Design Advisor



April 1, 1999, a new beginning, a new name and a new identity ... Nunavut. The Pangnirtung Print Shop was honoured to play an important and historic role in the genesis of this new land. In the spring of 1998 our own Andrew Qappik was chosen as the only Inuit artist who would help forge a new visual identity for Nunavut.

With the birth of a new Territory there was an urgent need for a Coat-of-Arms and flag to represent Nunavut in all its official capacities. The call went out, and the response was swift. Andrew accepted the honour from the Nunavut Implementation Committee and was quickly shuttled down to Ottawa to the offices of the Chief Herald of Canada, where they spent every day for two weeks working out the details. A return trip was made to Ottawa in July to put the finishing touches on the art work, and then everything was sealed “Top Secret“ until the official unveiling on April 1, 1999.

“It was a challenge to work on this project,” Andrew says. “I was the first Inuit artist to work with the Office of the Chief Herald, and I learned a lot. I was given a quick 'history-of-heraldry' lesson on the plane to Ottawa. I met the artists at the Office of the Chief Herald and toured the Parliament, studying other Provincial and Territorial heraldry. We talked about how the shapes and colours all have special meaning that form a unique language. We worked out how my drawing style would fit into this 'language of heraldry'.”

Those of you who have followed Andrew Qappik's work through the years will easily recognize his distinct style, especially in the Coat-of-Arms. Andrew's characteristic use of realism in the animal figures and his subtle method of shading are unmistakable and beautiful. We are proud of Andrew's historic contribution to Nunavut. It is a testament to the nurturing his talent has received at the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts over these past fifteen years, and, as you will see in the following collection, the talent endures.

The 1999 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection shows the latest work of our printmakers and represents well the master drawings of the artists of Pangnirtung. Once again John Houston was available to act as arts advisor and editioning the first proofs. The results speak for themselves and everyone is looking forward to 2000 ? the 25th anniversary of the Pangnirtung Print Shop.

Of all the time I've spent in the field of graphic design, I am proudest of the work I have done with these great artists over the past seven years, and I thank them for the opportunity and for my glimpse into their extraordinary world.


Dan O'Brien
Graphic Design Advisor


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This page was last updated on Monday February 21, 2005