Recent months have been hard on the artistic
community of Pangnirtung with the passing of well-known printmaker Enookie
Akulukjuk, graphic artist Ananaisie Alikatuktuk, and just recently, Joanasie
Maniapik, Chair of the Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association, the organizing force
behind the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts. The 2007 Pangnirtung Community
Print Collection will be dedicated to these three individuals who have
contributed so much to keeping the arts alive in their community and to
community life in general.
Enookie Akulukjuk, master printmaker and annual participant in the
Pangnirtung Community Print Collection since 1985, passed away in hospital
in Ottawa in mid-December 2006, after a long battle with heart disease.
Enookie was born in 1943 in Illunganjuit (Bon Accord), a small community
that no longer exists, on Baffin Island. The son of Malaya Akulukjuk, one of
Pangnirtung’s most famous artists, he resided in Pangnirtung since 1964.
Enookie was among the first printmakers to take up the art after it was
introduced in Pangnirtung in the early 1970s. His early printmaking
experiences were in the medium of silkscreen. Over the years he also
produced a number of beautiful etchings, mastering this technique that
utilizes copper and zinc plates.
Ultimately,Enookie became a specialist in stencil printing, or pochoir,
a technique that he enjoyed for its easy handling and simplicity of design.
His stencil prints are characterized by a high level of technical
virtuosity, demonstrating smooth, even brush work, softly blended colours,
and a level of mastery that he achieved through over thirty years of
printmaking experience. As with most of the Pangnirtung printmakers, many of
Enookie’s prints are interpretations of original drawings produced by
various community artists, including those of his common-law wife and
founding chairperson of the Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association, Rose Okpik.
However, he also regularly created his own original imagery, capturing the
playful movements of wildlife, such as seals and birds, with his use of a
repetitive patterning technique. Enookie was also a skilled woodworker and
participated in the hand-carved signmaking program at the Uqqurmiut Centre
for Arts & Crafts. Examples of his wood-carving skill presently adorn
building exteriors in various communities in Nunavut. Enookie Akulukjuk also
lived for hunting, fishing and camping on the land, especially during the
spring and summer seasons. All his life, he retained strong memories of his
experiences from a time before settlement in communities like Pangnirtung
became the norm. With his charming, gentle personality and ready, warm
smile, Enookie was a wonderful presence in the print shop. Enookie Akulukjuk
is survived by four brothers and four sisters, and he is greatly missed by
all who knew him.
Alikatuktuk was a graphic artist and carver who produced hundreds of
drawings for the archives held at the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts in
Pangnirtung. Ananaisie passed away in January 2007 in Pangnirtung after a
long illness. Born in 1944, he grew up on Paallavvik, near Broughton Island.
Eventually he relocated to Pangnirtung where he worked as a janitor and
school bus driver. In 1976, two of his drawings were published for the first
time as Pangnirtung prints. One of them, a stonecut printed by his brother
Thomasie, entitled, “Taleelayu and Family,” has become a highly sought
collector’s item. Ananaisie came from a family of artists. In addition to
his brother, Thomasie, who is a master printmaker and former mainstay of the
Pangnirtung Print Collections before moving to Iqaluit, his sister, Annie
Pitsiulak, has produced many drawings for the Pangnirtung archives.
Ananaisie’s second brother, Alan, has also produced numerous drawings that
have been utilized in prints and tapestries. Ananaisie was father to eight
children and is survived by two sisters, two brothers, children and
Maniapik was Chair of the
Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association, the all-Inuit governing body that was
formed in 1988 with a mandate to keep the arts alive in Pangnirtung. He
served as Chair of this organization for the past four years, in addition to
serving as a board member for Uqqurmiut Arts & Crafts, the governing body
for the marketing and sales company known as the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts &
Crafts, which administers the annual Pangnirtung Community Print Collection.
A skilled politician and facilitator, he also served as Mayor of Pangnirtung
for many years. Born
in 1936, Joanasie began rearing a family on the land but eventually settled
in Pangnirtung, which became his permanent home. Here he became active in
the community and served on many local committees and boards in the
Northwest Territories and Nunavut, in particular for Pangnirtung.
Joanasie possessed a combination of
enthusiasm, optimism and persistence that is so much an essential character
of a skilled hunter. He will be remembered by his family, friends and the
community for helping in many capacities. He served for
many years as Hamlet Councillor and Deputy Mayor, and in April, 2002, he
received recognition for his long years of service as Pangnirtung’s Mayor
from 1984-2000. Joanasie leaves
his wife Sarah from their relationship spanning 51 years, his children Jevua,
Noah, Lodie, Sheila, Meeka and Monica, his 11 brothers and sisters, and many
grand- and great-grandchildren. His son, Noah Maniapik, has been a regular
participant in the annual Pangnirtung Print Collections in recent years.
Regrettably, Noah had to withdraw this year due to his father’s sudden
passing on May 4th, 2007. Joanasie leaves a legacy to carry on
his wisdom and knowledge of the land and Inuit way of life.
He would have wished his
family and friends to remember him by working together and possessing an
outlook of living life to the fullest, as he did himself.
In keeping with the long-standing practice of
retiring deceased artists’ imagery from further use in new collections, the 2007
Pangnirtung Community Print Collection will mark the last time that work by
Enookie Akulukjuk and Ananaisie Alikatuktuk will be used. A complete list of
graphic works by these two men that have been made into prints and tapestries
can be obtained upon request.