Two generations of Inuit artists challenging the parameters of tradition.
Kenojuak Ashevak shot to fame in 1970 when Canada Post printed The Enchanted Owl, a print of a black-and-red plumed nocturnal bird, on a postage stamp. She later became known as the magic-marker-wielding "grandmother of Inuit art," famous for her fluid graphic storytelling and her stunning depictions of wildlife. She was a defining figure in Inuit art and one of the first Indigenous artists to be embraced as a contemporary Canadian artist.
Ashevak's legacy inspired her nephew, Timootee (Tim) Pitsiulak, to take up drawing at the Kinngait Studios. In his relatively short career, he became a popular figure, known for drawing animal figures with a hunter's precision and capturing the technological presence of the South in Nunavut.
Tunirrusiangit, "their gifts" or "what they gave" in Inuktitut, celebrates the achievements of two remarkable artists who challenged the parameters of tradition while consistently articulating a compelling vision of the Inuit world view. Published to coincide with a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, opening on 16 June and continuing until late August, Tunirrusiangit features more than 60 reproductions of paintings, drawings, and documentary photographs. Completing the book are essays by contemporary artists and curators Jocelyn Piirainen, Anna Hudson, Georgiana Uhlyarik, Koomuatuk Curley, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, and Taqralik Partridge that address both the past and future of Inuit identity.
About the authors
Anna Hudson is a professor of Canadian art history and curatorial studies at York University.
Jocelyn Piirainen is an urban Inuk and independent curator originally from Ikaluktutiak (Cambridge Bay), Nunavut.
Georgiana Uhlyarik is the Frederik S. Eaton curator, Canadian Art, in the department of Indigenous and Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Kenojuak Ashevak (1927-2013), an Order of Canada recipient, is known as the "grandmother of Inuit art," Famous for her fluid graphic storytelling and stunning use of magic markers, she quickly became a defining figure and one of the first Indigenous artists to be embraced as a Canadian contemporary artist.
Ashevak's legacy inspired her nephew, Timootee (Tim) Pitsiulak (1967-2016) to take up drawing at the Kinngait Studios. In his relatively short career, he became a popular figure, known for drawing animal figures with a hunter's precision and capturing the technological presence of the South in Nunavut.
"A strong step towards a resurgence of Indigenous artists, thinkers and makers ... providing a caring and attentive opportunity to reflect on these influential artists."
"Tunirrusiangit beautifully showcases the legacy of these trailblazing Inuit artists while opening a door for the next generation pushing modern Inuit art forward."