Inuit Art Quarterly - - CONTENTS - Britt Gallpen

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.

Photo Heiko Wit­ten­born

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

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