Vic­to­ria Mam­n­guq­su­aluk (1930–2016) and Miriam Mare­alik Qiyuk (1933–2016)

Inuit Art Quarterly - - TRIBUTE -

Born just three years apart, the pass­ing last year of sis­ters Vic­to­ria Mam­n­guq­su­aluk and Miriam Mare­alik Qiyuk has left an in­deli­ble mark. These tal­ented, pow­er­ful women were the daugh­ters of Jessie Oonark, OC, RCA (1906–1985), a pi­o­neer in graphic and tex­tile pro­duc­tion and a leader in her com­mu­nity of Qa­mani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU. Al­though Mam­n­guq­su­aluk and Qiyuk spent their child­hoods on the land in the Back River area, north­west of Qa­mani’tuaq, in 1958, along with their sib­lings and mother, they tran­si­tioned to set­tle­ment life. Both be­gan mak­ing art­work shortly there­after, greatly in­spired by the work of their mother. Through stiches on wall hang­ings and marks on paper, Mam­n­guq­su­aluk de­vel­oped a dis­tinct and unique style, with play­ful and en­er­getic char­ac­ters ren­dered with ex­pres­sive lines and in­tri­cate de­tail. Her del­i­cately stitched fig­ures tell tra­di­tional sto­ries and de­pict sub­jects drawn from Inuit leg­ends, in par­tic­u­lar the shaman Kiviuq. Mam­n­guq­su­aluk was ded­i­cated to the evo­lu­tion of her artis­tic prac­tice, ac­tively learn­ing new styles or tech­niques and chang­ing her work. In 1997, she grad­u­ated from a draw­ing and print­mak­ing pro­gram at the Nu­navut Arc­tic Col­lege, build­ing on her al­ready ex­ten­sive tal­ents as an artist. Qiyuk is known equally for her whim­si­cal wall hang­ings and styl­ized carv­ings. Af­ter de­vel­op­ing an al­lergy to wool, the artist turned to carv­ing in her later years, quickly be­com­ing one of the most ac­com­plished Inuit women carvers. Her sig­na­ture rep­re­sen­ta­tions of birds, in both wool and stone, are im­bued with both play­ful­ness and calm, with the feath­ered crea­tures of­ten shown hud­dled to­gether on crest­ing waves. Qiyuk’s affin­ity for birds, un­der­stood as sym­bols of light, fe­cun­dity and re­birth, was matched only by her in­ter­est in themes of move­ment and mi­gra­tion. Both Mam­n­guq­su­aluk and Qiyuk leave be­hind rich artis­tic lega­cies that con­tinue to re­veal their unique and in­di­vid­ual nar­ra­tives.

TOP: Vic­to­ria Mam­n­guq­su­aluk BOT­TOM: Miriam Qiyuk

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