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2006 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection

Foreword by Peter Wilson, General Manager

Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts [2001-present]

 

 

This year’s print collection is dedicated to the memory of Annie Kilabuk Jr. (1932-2005)

Annie Kilabuk Jr. was born in 1932 in Qimmisuuq camp, Baffin Island. Her mother was Natanine from Kingait (Cape Dorset). Annie was thirty-six when she settled in Pangnirtung as one of the earliest permanent residents from among a group of elders who had spent their formative years in nomadic camps. Soon after settling in Pangnirtung, Annie began to work at the local hospital during the day, developing her embroidery skills in the evening. At this time, Annie married Josepee Kilabuk, who was born near Black Lead Island, and together they raised six children, four of their own and two who were adopted. Annie would travel with Josepee on hunting and camping trips, participating in all traditional activities associated with living off the land. Annie and Josepee remained life-long partners. Sadly, Josepee also passed away in December, just two weeks ahead of Annie. Josepee, himself, had occasionally produced drawings, and one of these was made into a print in 2005. Annie and Josepee are survived by five of their adult children, William, Michael, Becky, Maggie Lucy and Moe., and by Annie’s sister, Sheepa Ishulutaq. A sixth child, Lucy, passed away in 1982. (Note: Annie attached the suffix “Jr.” after her name in order to be distinguished from her older sister-in-law, Annie Kilabuk Sr.)

In 1968, after settling in Pangnirtung, Annie began drawing on paper, using coloured pencil, charcoal and felt-tipped pen. Since then, a large number of her drawings have been acquired for the archives held at the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts in Pangnirtung. Many have now been interpreted in tapestries and prints, and have been shown in numerous exhibits. In addition to drawing and embroidery, Annie was also a skilled traditional sewer, a skill she passed on to others through informal classes at the local school and elsewhere.

Although basically a self-taught artist, Annie Kilabuk Jr. participated in a number of drawing programs offered in Pangnirtung. Annie noted that her approach to drawing was more like a process of story telling: “I have to do a lot of thinking before I put stories onto paper . . .. I like to tell stories for our future generations. My drawings will still be there even after I am dead.” Over the years, Annie completed hundreds of original works on paper, which comprise a significant proportion of Pangnirtung’s extensive graphics archives.

In 1999, Annie began to train as a printmaker, completing a printmaking program offered in Pangnirtung through Nunavut Arctic College and taught by master printmaker Judith Leidl (who subsequently went on to serve as arts advisor to the Pangnirtung print collections).  Judith Leidl recalls, “Annie Kilabuk Jr. had a unique artistic vision rooted in the Inuit world. Her strange, wonderful and sometimes frightening creatures speak to the viewer in a powerfully primal way of the life/death/life cycle. Hers were stories of survival and great strength in the face of adversity, which, ultimately, reflected her own life.” All of Annie’s works on paper depict different aspects of Inuit life, lore, tradition and imagination, and, as a whole, her work is significant from anthropological, historical, and ethnographical perspectives. Her first self-printed work, a stone-cut entitled “Fishing,” appeared in the 2000 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection. That year, Annie and Geela Sowdluapik, who both completed the Arctic College printmaking program, became the first women to participate as printmakers on a regular basis in the annual Pangnirtung collection. Although images created by women have always been used, the actual printmaking process had mainly been the domain of men until that point. Women have participated annually ever since 

In all, a total of forty-one of Annie Kilabuk Jr.’s works have been used for prints that have been included in the annual Pangnirtung Community Print Collection (including four this year), and twenty-five of her drawings have been used for tapestries produced by the weavers who work in the Pangnirtung Tapestry Studio. The most recent Pangnirtung print collection, released in June 2005, featured three prints based on Annie’s original drawings.

In keeping with a long-standing practice of retiring deceased artists’ imagery from further use in new collections, the 2006 prints will mark the last time that Annie Kilabuk Jr.’s work will be used. Each print is signed by the printmaker and Annie Kilabuk Jr.'s daughter Becky. A complete list of Annie’s graphic works that have been made into prints and tapestries can be obtained upon request.

Peter Wilson, General  Manager

Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts

Pangnirtung, April 2006

 

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This page was last updated on Saturday April 28, 2007