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About Judith Leidl







2006 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection

Introduction by Judith Leidl, Arts Advisor



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


This year’s print collection has been dedicated to the life and work of Annie Kilabuk Jr., respected visual artist, printmaker, traditional sewer, beloved mother, wife, daughter and member of the northern community of Pangnirtung for many years.

It was with deep sadness that I heard of Annie’s passing in December 2005. I thought about just how quickly a lifetime can go by, as well as how strongly we can connect with people from different cultures, particularly when there is a shared and continuous passion, as there was in this case, with drawing and printmaking.

As well, when we are leaving a community and saying good-bye to the people we have come to care about, we are often lulled into believing that there will always be a next time: when it is not to be.  Annie seemed well aware of this, though, as her last words to me a year ago were that she would be would no longer be living the next time I came to Pangnirtung. At the time, I was taken aback; however, I now understand that she was merely stating, factually, the inevitable progress of her illness.

As I reflect upon the multitude of archived drawings by Annie Kilabuk, I think about how dedicated she was to sharing with others her unique view of the world around her. I remember how she continued to participate in the 2003 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection (where she was to create and produce her most popular relief print, “Joy of the Drum Dance”). At that particular time, Annie’s cancer was not yet diagnosed, though she would have surely felt the great pain of this particular disease. She did not allow it to hinder her.

Looking back, I was happy that I had taken several photographs of Annie Kilabuk at work in the print shop and one more personal one of Annie and her husband Josepee Kilabuk. I was grateful to be allowed this glimpse into her family life as well as to have been able to document, to an extent, her great passion for visual creation, with its underlying need to communicate her life, her vision and her culture.

All these facets, drawn and blended together, from light to dark, model a story of hard work, love, connection, dreams, the mythological, the frightening, pain, death, community, birth and ultimately the life/death/life cycle of both human beings and animal life.

In a recent conversation I had with Annie’s son, William, I noted how birds are a recurring image in his mother's work. William explained the significance of birds to his mother, pointing out that Annie began drawing them after the death of her father, William’s grandfather. His passing moved Annie to ponder the lives of the birds she saw, how they, in their free form, were not restricted, hemmed in an bound by physical (and perhaps psychological) boundaries and limitations. Birds in their natural state travel freely in the world and exist only in the moment.

This moment in time, I myself think of how Annie Kilabuk’s life work will go on and survive after she is gone. We invite you to view and celebrate with us, glimpses of Annie’s life, her place, as well as her powerful and unique vision of her shared Inuit world.

Judith J. Leidl, MFA
Faculty, Art Department
Acadia University
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
April 2006


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This page was last updated on Saturday April 28, 2007