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2002 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection

Introduction by Judith Leidl, Arts Advisor

 

 

Judith Leidl with Annie Kilabuk in the Pangnirtung Print Shop, April 2002

 

My time working with the talented and hard-working printmakers at the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts in Pangnirtung has passed all too quickly once again this year. I will miss very much these people with whom I have worked so closely over the past six weeks. This has been my third stint working in the print shop, including term as printmaking instructor with Nunavut Arctic College, and each time I have come here my experience has gained richness, texture and meaning.

As I prepare, along with my two young children, for a long journey back to my home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, I reflect on a few simple words, written in Inuktitut by artist/printmaker Annie Kilabuk, on the paper that wrapped a beautiful gift that she presented to me on my final day in the print shop. Annie, who very recently turned seventy, is one of the people for whom I have acquired an especial fondness. Fellow artist/printmaker Andrew Qappik gently translated the words Annie wrote to me. She was thanking me for showing her that which she did not yet know. These very humble words, in turn, filled me with a sense of gratitude for all that I have been taught during my time working with these strong and skillful Inuit people. Like so many of the elders here, Annie has a wealth of talent and knowledge quite literally at her fingertips.

I have so many questions I would like to ask these people about the old ways in the outpost camps, where survival was clearly at the forefront of daily life. Yet the answers to all my questions and more can be found in the work of the printmakers and artists featured here in the 2002 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection. These images display a wealth of memory and experience in a vivid, visual language that communicates far more directly than mere words.

Seasoned printmaker Jolly Atagooyuk, working from an original water-colour painting by Joel Maniapik, presents a magically fluid, sensual seascape that is brilliantly realized and meticulously printed. This superb image, featuring Sedna, the Inuit sea goddess, allows the viewer a glimpse into a radiant and mysterious world of sea and ice, a place where spirits, animals, and human beings interact.

Noah Maniapik, whose work is featured on the catalogue cover, translates and transforms an original line drawing by Leetia Alivaktuk of a shaman and child riding the back of a huge bird in flight over land and sea. Noah's choice of colour palette for this print is just right, and his fine printing technique ensures successful execution, making the surreal seem real. This print has special meaning for Noah, who told me that the shaman portrayed is none other than his own grandfather.

The three women returning in this year's collection - Annie Kilabuk, Jr., Geela Sowdluapik and Leetia Alivaktuk - have certainly come into their own. Over the past two years (and more), they have demonstrated a great sense of humour combined with strong determination and an ability to learn new techniques quickly that has clearly yielded excellent results. The women are working with both stencil and relief printing again this year. Newcomer Abigail Ootoova shows great promise with her dynamic, humorous and well-printed work. I will look forward to her contribution to future collections.

Josea Maniapik and Enookie Akulukjuk also return with extremely well-printed and striking stencil prints. Tommy Angnakak's first collection print shows that he has learned well from working so closely with the printmakers as print shop manager. Andrew Qappik has produced another of his appealing signature polar bear prints, and his interpretation of an original drawing by Samantha Qappik, Andrew's daughter, adds special meaning to his contribution this year.

Seascapes, dreamscapes, mythological creatures and narratives, derived from traditional Inuit life and beyond, comprise the imagery offered in this exciting new collection of prints. Viewed as a whole, this body of work pays tribute to the skill, talent, dedication and deep knowledge of these wonderful people who live and work at the top of the world. I am proud and honoured to present the 2002 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection.

Judith J. Leidl, MFA

Faculty, Art Department

Acadia University

Wolfville, NS

May 2002

 

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This page was last updated on Monday February 21, 2005