Jianiva La Page
Ottawa-born, Kuujjuaq-based artist Jianiva La Page has been steadily gaining attention for her signature pointillist technique. Her career started to rise with the sale of a drawing, featuring an Inuk woman juggling, to Tivi Galleries’ founder David Forrest in 2001. In the ensuing years, she has refined her style through the careful depiction of familiar faces and themes, La Page is regularly engaged for commission-based portraits. “Whenever I work on my art, I want it to represent Nunavik and its people,” she explains. This approach is visible in Northern Child, a drawing from 2012 that exquisitely captures the contours and luminosity of the young child’s expressive face. The result is a captivating image that surges outward from the page, supported not by line but by the density of hundreds of individual dots.
Working directly from photographs, La Page’s signature portraits are frequently rendered in black ink on white ground and are often sparingly punctuated with accents of red. The result is a body of delicate, original graphic works that are often sold even before they are completed. A single work can take anywhere from 40 to 100 hours to produce. To address demand, the self-taught artist produces and manages the distribution of her own limited edition prints. “I think it’s important that artists are aware of what they are capable of doing—in taking control of their work and their market, including production and distribution.” Prints by the artist have made it into the hands of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Boucher.
A significant career milestone was La Page’s inclusion in Women of the Arctic (2010), curated by Noémi McComber, in collaboration with Avataq Cultural Institute, for La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse in Montreal, alongside four other Nunavik artists: Leah Nuvalinga Qumaluk, Maggie S. Kiatainaq, Laina Nulukie and Jessie Koneak Jones. Jianiva La Page’s work has been distributed through Tivi Galleries in Kuujjuaq and the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver.
Jianiva La Page (b. 1975 Kuujjuaq) Tradition, Bond, Love: Inuit Values of Life 2014 Ink on paper 27.9 x 35.6 cm Courtesy Inuit Gallery of Vancouver Portrait of La Page in Kuujjuaq in 2010
Jianiva La Page Northern Child 2012 Ink on paper 27.9 x 35.6 cm Courtesy Tivi Galleries