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Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) Region

Kinngait (Cape Dorset)


Kinngait (Cape Dorset)
looking to Mallikjuaq [Mallik] Island

Kinngait (Cape Dorset)
bathed in the Northern Lights

Kinngait (Cape Dorset)


Alma & James Houston prepare Canada’s gift to
the new Queen Elizabeth II

Kinngait, Inuktitut for “mountains” is located on the south west coast of Baffin Island on the Foxe Peninsula of Baffin. The area surrounding the community is mountainous and Mallikjuaq [Mallik] a hilly island minutes away from Kinngait by boat is a dominant presence of the landscape.

Cape Dorset was the first Canadian arctic community to produce drawings and prints. It developed into a major northern art community due to James and Alma Houston’s presence from 1951 to 1962 and Terry Ryan’s nurturing, first as an arts advisor in 1960 and then as manager of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-Operative from 1962 – 2001. The linearity of Cape Dorset graphic arts is believed to be an influence on the sculpture from this area.

Over three generations of artists have produced sculpture from Cape Dorset. Although small-scale works, following the tradition of highly detailed ivory sculpture from the Historic Period, are in evidence, Kinngait artists are typically noted for their large-scale stone sculpture.

The first generation of Cape Dorset artists established a tradition of stylized naturalism, with caribou, dancing bears and fragile magical birds as favourite themes. The animals are often created in anthropomorphic poses that are heroic, humorous or dramatic. Transformation imagery is also popular, where the supernatural and spirituality are represented in the melding of human and animal form.

Inuit art scholar Susan Gustavison noted that Cape Dorset artists take “pride” in the “amazingly thin” elements of their sculptures, which reflects both their skill and the strength of the “translucent” stone. Gustavison notes that the hardness, consistency and structural integrity of the stone (due to its chemical composition, iron or magnetite, pyroxene, olivine, and brucite) allows for considerable detail and an “almost virtuoso degree of piercing in the stone”.

Variety of style and creativity was encouraged and supported by the Houstons and Terry Ryan, as well as the West Baffin Island Eskimo Co-operative, which pays artists based on the originality, quality and complexity of their sculpture.

As of 2005 over a dozen artists from Cape Dorset have been made members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Abraham Etungat, Pitseolak Ashoona, Pauta Saila, Kenojuak Ashevak, Osuitok Ipeelee, Kananginak Pootoogook, Mayureak Ashoona, Kiawak Ashoona, Paulaussie Pootoogook, Toonoo Sharky, Pitaloosie Saila, Aqjangajuk Shaa and Oviloo Tunnillie.

Cape Dorset sculpture is renownfor it’s images of arctic wildlife and the Inuit culture, depicted in a stylized and somewhat abstract form, and for its emphasis on spatial interaction, expressive qualities, and overall form.


Osuitok Ipeelee
(1923-2005)
at home


Osuitok Ipeelee
(1923-2005)

Osuitok Ipeelee
(1923-2005)

Aqjangayuk Shaa
(1937-)

Aqjangayuk Shaa
(1937-)

Kiawak Ashoona
(1933-)


Latcholassie Akesuk
(1919-2000)


Pauta Saila
(1916-)


Abraham Etungat
(1911-1999)

Kimmirut (Lake Harbour)


Overlooking Kimmirut (Lake Harbour)

Kimmirut (Lake Harbour)

Kimmirut (Lake Harbour)
Anglican Church


Kimmirut (Lake Harbour)
Hudson Bay Store

Kimmirut is located on the shore of Hudson Strait. Kimmirut means "heel", and refers to a rocky outcrop in the inlet.

Kimmirut has been exposed to southern influences for over 150 years, beginning with the arrival of European whalers in the mid-19th century, (note that the Inuit had been harvesting whale for centuries before their arrival) the establishment of an Anglican mission in 1900 and one of the earliest Hudson’s Bay Company posts in the south Baffin soon after.

While the early presence of European whalers encouraged ivory carving in this area, it wasn’t until the 1940s that the community became well known for its ivory sculpture. Ivory carving became so popular that at one point ivory had to be imported. In the 1960s the area began to be known for is “naturalistic carving of animals and spirit beings”.


Kapik Kolola (1926-1985)

Kapik Kolola (1926-1985)

Nalenik Temela (1939-)

Pangnirtung


Pangnirtung

Pangnirtung Fiord

Pangnirtung – ‘Switzerland of the Arctic’


Davie Atchealak (1947-)

Pangnirtung is situated on a coastal plain on the coast of Pangnirtung Fjord, a fjord that eventually merges with Cumberland Sound.

In 1921, the Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post in Pangnirtung, and two years later the RCMP erected a permanent office. The first government-appointed teacher arrived in 1956, which in 1962 was followed by the first administrative office.

While Pangnirtung possesses no meaning in Inuktitut, it is nicknamed the ‘Switzerland of the Arctic’ due to its majestic setting just south of Auyuittuq National Park. (Established in 1976, Auyuittuq – an Inuktitut word meaning "land that never melts" – protects 19,089 square kilometres of glacier covered terrain and is home to the highest peaks of the Canadian Shield, the Penny Ice Cap, marine shorelines along coastal fiords, and Akshayuk Pass, a traditional travel corridor used by the Inuit for thousands of years. Auyuittuq also contains Mount Thor, the largest uninterrupted cliff face in the world, and Mount Asgard, which is surrounded by glaciers and can only be climbed for a short time each year late in the summer. Mount Asgaard was featured in the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me.") Some residents of Pangnirtung say that the real name of the town is Panniqtuuq, which means "the place of many bull caribou". However, a proposal to officially change the name was declined by residents in order to continue marketing the region’s art under the highly recognized name Pangnirtung.

Sculpture has been a fact of life for this community since the arrival of the whaling industry and the influence of both American and European whalers in the mid-19th century is visible. Inuit art expert Ingo Hessel describes the style as the “heroic realism [of] the southern Baffin style” and its “dynamic spirit sculptures”.

(Kekerten Island, about 50 kilometres south of Pangnirtung was first used as a whaling station after the island was charted by Scottish whaler William Penny, (who the Penny Ice Cap was named for) in 1840. Kekerten and the surrounding Cumberland Sound became a major whaling location for both the British and the Americans. Knowledge of whales, the area and of Arctic survival made the Inuit people essential allies in the arctic commercial whaling industry. They were employed, lived and many died on the island during this period of whaling history.)

The brown to black serpentine stone and whalebone are both important materials to artists of this community, but appropriately Pangnirtung’s whalebone sculptures are probably the most well known. The themes depicted in this community focus on animals, humans, shamanism, and mythological subject matter.

The dramatic and emotionally charged style of Dave Atchealak (b. 1947) is considered representative of the ‘Pang’ style.

Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay)


Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay)


Paneloo (1953-)

Ikpiarjuk is located on the northern shore of Adams Sound, off Admiralty Inlet, on high hills that surround the community on three sides with nearly a land-locked bay on the fourth side. Due to its geographical location, it was given the Inuktitut name "Ikpiarjuk", meaning "bag" or "pocket".

The area had been occupied by Inuit nomads migrating from the west for almost 5,000 years, but did not experience external influence until 1872, when a European whaling ship the ‘Arctic’ captained by Willie Adams, passed through and named the area Arctic Bay. The Hudson’s Bay Company / Northwest Company has had a continuous presence in Ikpiarjuk since the 1930s, but the town itself was not built until the 1960s, around a Hudson’s Bay Company store.

It was in the 1960s that Ikpiarjuk became known for its sculpture, attracting attention for the two main materials used – whalebone and a grey argillite often streaked with iron. Aged whalebone was found on beaches and used until the mid-1970s. When that supply disappeared, larger pieces from the Thule pre-historic period were popular during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Ingo Hessel described the works created from this material as “modest, naïve with simple lines, yet direct and even moving, depicting everyday life and animals”.

An economic factor affecting the growth of sculpture in this area was the 1974 opening of the Nanisivik lead-zinc mine that supplied an alternative income source to art.

Ikpiarjuk sculptor Manasie Akpaliapik’s (b.1955), work explores the symbols and legends of the Inuit in his stone and whalebone pieces.


Manasie Akpaliapik
(1955-)


Manasie Akpaliapik
(1955-)

Igloolik (sometimes spelled Iglulik)


Women of Igloolik

Men of Igloolik

Captain William Edward Parry


American explorer Charles Hall with Eskimo’s c.1867

The name ‘Igloolik’ means "there is an igloo here" in Inuktitut and the residents are called Iglulingmiut (~miut – "people of"). Located on a small island in Foxe Basin very close to the Melville Peninsula (and to a lesser degree, Baffin Island), Igloolik is often thought to be on the peninsula. Due to its location, Iglulingmiut have experienced much interaction with outsiders. Archaeological sites found on the island, some dating back 4,000 years, tell a rich story of Igloolik’s past and the influence of explorers, prospectors and the church.

European contact is believed to have first occurred when Captain William Edward Parry, commander of British Navy ships HMS Fury and HMS Hecla, wintered in Igloolik in 1822.

The island was next visited in 1867 by American explorer Charles Francis Hall searching for survivors of the lost Franklin Expedition. In 1913, Alfred Tremblay, a French-Canadian prospector with Captain Joseph Bernier’s expedition to Pond Inlet, extended his mineral exploration overland to Igloolik, and in 1921 a member of Knud Rasmussen’s ‘Fifth Thule Expedition’ visited the island.

The first permanent presence by southerners in Igloolik came with the establishment of a Roman Catholic Mission in the 1930s. By the end of the decade the Hudson’s Bay Company had also set up a post on the island.

An ancient legend from the Igloolik area was adapted by Zacharias Kunuk into the award-winning Canadian film Atanarjuat in 2001.

Portrayed by Hessel as a “bastion of traditional Inuit culture” artists from this area use light green stone from northern Baffin Island when available and a coarse grey local stone. Artists from the area depict hunting and mythological themes in a realistic style.

Famed artist Henry Evaluarjuk (b.1923) was born in Igloolik and although he has lived in various communities throughout the Arctic, Iqaluit was his home. His highly popular, stylized bears are likely the result of his hunter’s memory for animal form combined with the influence of the varied communities he traveled to.


Henry Evaluardjuk (1923-)

Henry Evaluardjuk (1923-)

ATANARJUAT the fast runner

Captain Parry winters at Igloolik, 1822


HMS Fury & HMS Hecla locked in
the ice at Igloolik, 1822


Igloolik (sometimes spelled Iglulik)

Sanikiluaq (Belcher Islands)


Sanikiluaq (Belcher Islands)
from the Space Shuttle

Sanikiluaq (Belcher Islands)

Henry Hudson
(1570-1611?)


Henry Hudson’s ship
the Half Moon

Sanikiluaq is part of the Territory of Nunavut but is located on a chain of islands a short distance from Québec and off the eastern coast of Hudson Bay. It is Nunavut’s most southern community.

Sanikikuaq is one of the few Nunavut regions where trees exist in the thin soil of the island, primarily on the south-facing slopes of valleys. It is also distinct from most other regions of Nunavut in its comparative youth: the first Inuit (Tuniit or Dorset culture) presence traces to only about 500 B.C., versus 4,000 to 5,000 years ago in the northern and western areas. It is also thought that some ancestral Inuit found their way to the Belcher Islands by way of what is today northern Quebec. The first European in the area was Henry Hudson on his ship, the Half Moon, who sighted the islands in 1610.

Sanikikuaq sculptors use the local stone, which is dominantly argillite. Argillite is a fine-grained, layered rock of light gray to black color. The artists produce small, well-polished pieces incorporating streamlined curves and crisp edges that the argillite allows for. The style of carving and subjects are similar to those found in Nunavik and typically are of naturalistic birds and mammals. Sanikiluaq sculptures often include minute details incised into the argillite or surface inscribed decoration.

The images created include graceful and unusual spirit pieces. The sculpture style is considered by some experts to be similar to the sculpture of Kuujjuarapik (Northern Quebec).

Sculptors from this area include many with the family names Meeko and Kavik: Semeonie Kavik (b.1966), Isaac Meeko (b.1950), Lucassie Meaka (b.1962) and Davidee Eayaituq (b.1935).


Davidee Kavik (1915-)


Lucy Meeko
(1929-2004)

Kuujjuarapik (Great Whale River, Poste-de-la-Baleine)

Kuujjuarapik is a bicultural community of Inuit and Cree. The Cree community is called Whapmagootsui, “where there are whales” in the Cree language and the Inuit name Kuujjuarapikmeans "small river". The village is also officially designated Poste-de-la-Baleine, making it one of the few places in Canada with three official names.

Ancestors of the Inuit, as well as Cree, have occupied the area for roughly 2,800 years. The area has experienced significant interaction with ‘qallunaaq’ or non- Inuit, since the middle of the nineteenth century, although a permanent settlement was not created for another 100 years. The Hudson’s Bay Company trading post ‘Fort Richmond’ was built at the mouth of the Great Whale River in the mid-1800s, and Anglican and Catholic missions were established in the 1880s. During the Second World War, the American army opened a military base at the mouth of the Great Whale River, using Inuit and Cree workers. A Mid-Canada Line radar station built in 1955 and operational until 1965, established the foundations of the current permanent settlement.

Family and camp life, animals and fantasy imagery are themes of the sculpture of this region made from argillite or grey Arctic Quebec stone and Sanikiluaq stone, when it is available. Based on their close proximity, Kuujjuarapik and Sanikiluaq sculpture share a similar style.