Exploring Cape Dorset Art

About Exploring Cape Dorset Art

This new year brings a celebration of art and culture of the Inuit people of Cape Dorset (Kinngait) through three distinct exhibitions. Together, the exhibitions highlight the rich artistic community of those living in the northern territory of Nunavut and its prolific contribution to the documentation of Inuit life and traditions, for over half a century.

 

WHALES’ TAILS AND OTHER TALES: CAPE DORSET’S PUDLAT FAMILY
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and guest-curated by Inuit art scholar and former McMichael curator Susan Gustavison


The research of Inuit art scholar and former McMichael curator Susan Gustavison invites visitors on a journey with this first exhibition to open on January 26 in our Exploration of Cape Dorset Art. Her examination of the nearly 100,000 prints, drawings, and sculptures in the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative (WBEC) collection on long-term loan to the McMichael culminates in Whales’ Tails and Other Tales: Cape Dorset’s Pudlat Family, an exhibition which reflects the life of the community coming to terms with profound social changes from 1950 to the 1980s. Five brothers of the Pudlat family—Pudlo, Oshutsiak, Samuellie, Simeonie Quppapik, and Joe Jaw— as well as Pudlo’s wife, Innukjuakju, have left an artistic legacy of thousands of drawings and hundreds of prints that reveal the richness of Inuit culture in the vast area surrounding the Baffin Island community. The family explores their wide-ranging interests in the many facets of their community life, producing compelling images that pique our curiosity, induce admiration for their high level of creativity, and inform us of their lives.

more about this exhibition...

 
Osoochiak Pudlat (1908–1992), Caribou Act as Men, 1983, lithograph on paper , 56.8 x 56.3 cm, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Purchase 1986, 1986.14.3, Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts.

 

KIUGAK ASHOONA: STORIES AND IMAGININGS FROM CAPE DORSET
A national travelling exhibition organized by the Winnipeg Art Gallery and curated by Darlene Wight


This installation in our Exploration of Cape Dorset Art brings another perspective on this northern community and opens on February 2. Organized by the Winnipeg Art Gallery and curated by Darlene Wight, Kiugak Ashoona: Stories and Imaginings from Cape Dorset is a first retrospective exhibition. It consists of nearly fifty works on paper and sculptures that highlight the artistic output of a leading first generation artist. Kiugak Ashoona (born 1933) began carving in the late 1940s and has had the longest artistic career of any of the artists currently living in Cape Dorset on south Baffin Island. Most of Ashoona’s drawings are from the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative collection on loan to the McMichael. Wight’s investigation into the drawings marks the first time they have been studied, contributing new information on their specific (rather than generalized) subject matter and bringing much deserved recognition to one of the few remaining “Early Masters” in Inuit art.

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  Kiugak Ashoona

Kiugak Ashoona (b. 1933), Natturalik and Young Eating Fish (Detail), c. 1990, Green serpentinite stone,
Private Collection.

 
WHERE DO WE COME FROM? WHAT ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE GOING? IDENTITY IN CONTEMPORARY CAPE DORSET ART
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements


This exhibition introduces viewers to the more modern perspectives of Inuit artists. Inspired by Paul Gauguin’s masterpiece of the same title, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, the exhibition poses the questions: Who are we? How do we come to know and define ourselves? Is it vis-à-vis our physical and social environments, the people in our lives or our daily experiences? This exhibition explores the idea of identity—personal and collective, real and mythical, corporal and psychological—within the Inuit world, examined through (self) portraits and images of group gatherings.
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Tim Pitsiulak, Climate Change, 2011, Pencil crayon,
64.8 x 49.5 cm,
Courtesy of Feheley Fine Arts