Elisapee Ishulutaq: My World
July 1 – October 30, 2022
About the Exhibition
This will be the first solo museum exhibition of works by the exceptional Inuit artist Elisapee Ishulutaq (1925–2018), focusing on her epic works on paper in pencil and oil stick. Her works immerse us in the experience of daily life in her home community of Pangnirtung, located on a spectacular mountainous fjord in Baffin Island, Nunuvut, capturing the community’s way of life in vibrant colour.
Ishulutaq’s drawings are bold in their minimalism, her high-contrast forms evoking the dramatic mountainscapes that surround her community. Large panoramic drawings provide holistic views of life in the hamlet of Pangnirtung, while smaller works evoke the dazzling world of birds in flight, boats at sea, or the inky back expanses of the night sky in the depths of winter. Intriguing, too, are her hybrid scenes in which Arctic realities are counterbalanced by imagery from an imaginary south—and the unexpected appearances of elephants or leafy trees.
Ishulutaq’s works draw us deeply into her way of seeing, transmitting an indelible view of life in the Arctic seen through her unique lens. This exhibition extends the longstanding commitment of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection to the art of Canada’s North, bringing to light an artist whose accomplishments have yet to be fully celebrated.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication that will include an introductory essay by McMichael Chief Curator Sarah Milroy, a lead essay by Inuit writer and artist Tarralik Duffy, and a contribution from Darlene Wight, Curator of Inuit Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, who knew Elisapee Ishulutaq during her lifetime.