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2001 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection

Foreword by Peter Wilson, General Manager

Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts [2001-present]

 

 

I began my role as General Manager of the Uqqurmiut Centre in early February 2001. The Centre had been without a GM since April 2000, around the time that the production process for that year’s annual print collection would have been gearing down and moving into the post-production and shipping phases. That must have been a difficult time for the printmakers – and for everyone at the Uqqurmiut Centre. Shortly after I arrived, the printmakers and I held a meeting to discuss how to proceed with this year’s collection. In recent history, a printmaking advisor would already have been here by now (February), participating in the all-important process of selecting imagery, offering technical advice upon request, and generally acting as an energizing agent. So … how to proceed this year?

Two choices were readily available – to postpone this year’s collection or cancel it altogether. After discussing and weighing all the pros and cons, the printmakers decided upon a third option – to accept the challenge of a protracted schedule and get a collection out in June. Challenges are nothing new to the printmakers, and the printmakers’ plucky displays of nerve and determination are nothing new to us. Recall 1994 and the fire that destroyed the old print shop – the printmakers rallied and got a collection out anyway! “The show must go on!” they were announcing to the world. And the show will go on this year, too. But now … who would be the artistic advisor?

The names of several highly qualified individuals were mentioned at once. John Houston, for one – but he was very busy working on a new film about Sedna. Two other names included Stephen Osler and Paul Machnik, both of whom had been advisors in the past. In the end, the printmakers focused on a fourth name – Judith Leidl, artist, printmaker and teacher from Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The printmakers remembered her from a recent visit to Pangnirtung in late 1999 when she had instructed a printmaking course at the Uqqurmiut Centre through Nunavut Arctic College. “Maybe we can ask her,” said Josea Maniapik, the man who has come to be known as the Shop Foreman. So I asked Judith, and, fortunately for us, she was available and agreed to come on the short notice. And now … who would participate as printmakers?

Returning this year would be the core of the group from past years – Josea Maniapik, Enookie Akulukjuk, Andrew Qappik and Jolly Atagooyuk. Returning also would be two women, Annie Kilabuk and Geela Sowdluapik, who each debuted as printmakers with last year’s collection. A third woman invited to participate this year was Leetia Alivaktuk, who had completed Judith Leidl’s earlier printmaking course. In addition, three more young artists emerged – Noah Maniapik, Seemonie Kakee and Tony Nauyuk. Noah makes his debut with this year’s collection; Seemonie and Tony are two artists to keep an eye on, and once their apparent talent has been honed through more technical experience, they will very likely be represented in future collections.

From a personal point of view, I felt it would have been a feather in my bonnet had I succeeded in enticing a couple of printmakers from earlier years back into the fold. Indeed, I did contact both Thomasie Alikatuktuk and Jacoposie Tiglik, two very talented artists from recent history. Unfortunately for us, Thomasie is now involved in a very active political life, with time constraints that prohibit printmaking, and Jacoposie has taken up permanent residence in Iqaluit, physically too far away, if not spiritually. Both men expressed regret at not being able to participate, and Thomasie’s observations during a recent visit to the Print Shop (just to say hello and to see how things were going) are particularly poignant. “I’ve been away from printmaking too long,” he said. “The smell of the ink reminds me how much I miss it. When you’ve been involved in something for such a long time, it stays with you forever.” These observations speak to the dedication of the artist/printmakers – a dedication that is admirably represented in the thirty-one images created by the talented men and women for this, The 2001 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection.
 

Peter Wilson

General Manager

Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts

May 2001

 

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This page was last updated on Monday February 21, 2005