57th Annual Cape Dorset Print Collection
Since 1959 the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection has showcased the best and brightest Inuit art from West Baffin Island. More than a half century of printmaking has developed the technical sophistication and innovative aesthetic which has become a hallmark of Kinngait Studios. Each collection tells us a new story, and this year’s latest chapter is an homage to Inuit art history and cultural heritage. Whether it is depictions of wildlife or legend, Inuit people or the land, the work of Ningiukulu Nungusuituk, Pitseolak Niviaqsi, Tim Pitsiulak, Malaija Pootoogook, Pauojoungie Saggiak, Kakulu Saggiaktok and Ningeokuluk Teevee finds fresh inspiration in tradition.
Sometimes true to the past while other times turning what came before upside down, the work in this collection truly moves forward while looking back. From an adorned pair of boots to a stiletto wearing raven and with a grouping of psychedelic sea shells alongside a gently sleeping polar bear, this visual narrative unfolds with authenticity, whimsy, reverence and insight. From a methodological point of view, well represented in this year’s collection are lithography and etching – approaches which best demonstrate a fluidity and complexity of line. Equal measures artful and alchemic, lithography employs the principle that oil and water shall never mix and etching brings to bear the corrosive consequences of acid on metal. Couple an exceptional creative vision with astute material understanding and extreme patience, we have the master printmaker capable of harnessing the potential of these two techniques.
Unique to the Kinngait repertoire is stonecut – a process that is both arduous and elegant. The printing matrix is meticulously hand-fashioned out of actual stone, sometimes worked over a period of months. A surface is scraped, gouged, chiseled – literally mined by the printmaker – and at its finest, the process is a contradiction. The level of detail extracted from solid stone can result in a print image that is lively, nimble even ethereal. Sadly, part of this year’s story is the loss of two Kinngait innovators Pitseolak Niviaqsi and Jutai Toonoo. They will be missed, but their voices will surely live on through the results of their lifetime of art making.
Nanooq Inuit Art is pleased to present this compendium of prints! For the last 57 years, the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection has been anticipated and treasured worldwide. We are privileged to present the celebrated work of Cape Dorset’s Inuit artists. And for a creative community that is now more than 57 years in the making, we can’t wait to see what’s yet to come.
William Huffman – Dorset Fine Arts