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Arctic Visions: Inuit Drawings
from Northern Canada

Marion Scott Gallery
Vancouver BC Jul 24-Aug 30, 2004

Janet Kigusiuq - Shaman and Two Birds
Janet Kigusiuq, Shaman and Two Birds (c. 1980), pencil crayon on paper [Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver BC, Jul 24-Aug 30]

The concept of Inuit art evolved during the 1960s as the Inuit people learned that their carvings and prints could be exchanged for the more utilitarian necessities of life. Drawings from the Canadian Arctic originally were used as the basis for this developing print market. In the years since, drawings have emerged as a contemporary art form in their own right.

Arctic Visions: Inuit Drawings from Northern Canada is the first exhibition in nearly two decades to examine in detail this marvellous art form. It is particularly timely with the current interest in drawing generally. The exhibition showcases work by six artists from three different regions with more than one hundred images in total. The earliest were created in the 1970s and the most recent executed in the last few years.

The drawings in this exhibit were created mostly with coloured pencil crayons on paper. In an individualistic fashion typical of Northern artists, the styles and techniques are unexpected and intriguing. The show portrays a rich diversity of Inuit drawing, as well as the unique particularities of each of the featured artists, all of whom have made powerful contributions to Northern drawing. From Nick Sikkuark, in Kugaaruk, are fantastic landscapes containing supernatural figures. Cape Dorset’s Sheojuk Etidlooie transforms the everyday world into virtually abstract images. Kananginak Pootoogook, also based in Cape Dorset, captures wildlife with an exquisite technical drawing style. Three Baker Lake artists are featured. Francoise Oklaga takes an expressionistic approach while Janet Kigusiuq's formal style is almost disturbing. The colourful bird-filled images of Lucy Qinnuayuakare are refreshingly whimsical by contrast. Visitors will be fascinated by the variations.

Mia Johnson

 Thu, Jun 3, 2004