Saimaiyu Ake­suk

b. 1988 Kin­ngait, NU

Inuit Art Quarterly - - COLLECTING GUIDE - – John Westren

Pic­ture this: an enor­mous trop­i­cal spider, a bird wear­ing striped leo­tards, a blimp-shaped lem­ming in bub­ble gum pink. These are a few of the graphic im­ages from the hand of Saimaiyu Ake­suk, a young Kin­ngait (Cape Dorset) artist who is rapidly gain­ing a world­wide rep­u­ta­tion for her en­er­getic and au­da­cious prints and draw­ings. At first glance, Saimaiyu’s works are rem­i­nis­cent of the sim­ple bold im­ages of el­ders like Sheo­juk Etid­looie and Papi­ara Tukiki. How­ever the sim­i­lar­i­ties are de­cep­tive. Un­like her for­bear­ers, Saimaiyu’s work has an ur­ban sen­si­tiv­ity that com­bines el­e­ments of Arc­tic im­agery with Hol­ly­wood cre­ations and bal­loons from the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade. With loose bound­ing lines, she draws mon­u­men­tal look­ing de­pic­tions of com­mon birds, an­i­mals, trans­for­ma­tions and in­sects and then fills in the shapes with pure, lus­cious, fruit juice colours and vig­or­ous scrib­bling and crosshatch­ing. The re­sults are im­ages that are con­tained yet ex­pan­sive, in­ti­mate yet cel­e­bra­tory and, even on a small scale, larger than life. Saimaiyu’s prints were first in­tro­duced to the pub­lic in the 2013 Cape Dorset An­nual Print Col­lec­tion, and, in the years since, she has gone on to ex­hibit in solo shows in Canada and the US.


Saimaiyu Ake­suk Un­ti­tled 2017 Coloured pen­cil and ink 58.5 × 76.1 cm

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