TRIBUTE

Barnabus Ar­na­sun­gaaq Terry Ryan Mary Yu­usipik Sin­gaqti Sa­monie Toonoo

Inuit Art Quarterly - - CONTENTS -

Barnabus Ar­na­sun­gaaq (1924–2017)

Born in the Kazan River area of Nu­navut in 1924, artist Barnabus Ar­na­sun­gaaq lived a tra­di­tional life on the land un­til his fam­ily re­lo­cated to Qa­mani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU. He be­gan carv­ing in 1961 and his work soon found a cap­ti­vated au­di­ence in the South. Though he pro­duced a few ex­per­i­men­tal prints in the late 1960s, Ar­na­sun­gaaq is rec­og­nized as one of the most in­flu­en­tial stone carvers of the Ki­valliq Re­gion. Ar­na­sun­gaaq passed away in Septem­ber 2017, leav­ing be­hind an in­cred­i­ble legacy of art­mak­ing that spanned nearly 60 years. He is best known for his ro­bust sculp­tures of um­ing­mak (muskox), carved with un­du­lat­ing lines and sim­pli­fied form, dic­tated by the hard lo­cal stone and his re­fusal to use elec­tric tools to carve. Ar­na­sun­gaaq was a respected el­der and tremen­dous in­flu­ence on his com­mu­nity. He will be dearly missed by his friends and fam­ily, in­clud­ing his sons, David and Nor­man, who are also carvers, and the Inuit art com­mu­nity. When asked where his ideas came from, the artist re­sponded with this pow­er­ful state­ment: “I don’t know where I get my ideas…I look in­side my­self. Some­times be­fore go­ing to bed, I ex­am­ine the stone, care­fully. And in the morn­ing I know what it will be. To the new gen­er­a­tion of Inuit carvers, here and across Nu­navut, I rec­om­mend this: carve the way you want and not the way the white man tells you—re­mem­ber you are an Inuk.”

Terry Ryan (1933–2017)

“The fu­ture lies with those who wish to take up the chal­lenge, sup­ported by those un­der­stand­ing of their needs.” These prophetic words were penned by Terry Ryan, cel­e­brated arts ad­min­is­tra­tor and life­long cham­pion of Inuit artists, in the sec­ond is­sue of the Inuit Art Quar­terly. An out­spo­ken ad­vo­cate for the field and an early sup­porter of the Inuit Art Foun­da­tion, Ryan passed away in Au­gust 2017. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the On­tario Col­lege of Art, Ryan be­gan work­ing for the West Baffin Eskimo Co­op­er­a­tive (WBEC) in 1960, be­com­ing the Gen­eral Man­ager soon af­ter. A Kin­ngait (Cape Dorset), NU, res­i­dent for 40 years, Ryan was in­stru­men­tal in the mar­ket­ing and pro­duc­tion of print­mak­ing, draw­ings and sculp­ture from the ham­let. Ryan worked for WBEC un­til he re­lo­cated to Toronto in 2000 to over­see Dorset Fine Arts, the mar­ket­ing arm for the co-op­er­a­tive that he helped es­tab­lish in 1978. Ryan’s ex­ten­sive con­tri­bu­tions to the field didn’t end with Kin­ngait. In 1964, he trav­elled to Kangiq­tu­gaapik (Clyde River), Mit­ti­mata­lik (Pond In­let) and Ikpi­ar­juk (Arc­tic Bay), where he pro­vided Inuit with pa­per and pen­cils and in­vited them to draw what­ever they wanted, pur­chas­ing all of the fin­ished draw­ings months later. The re­sult­ing draw­ings were most re­cently the sub­ject of the tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion Pic­tur­ing Arc­tic Moder­nity: North Baffin Draw­ings from 1964 (2017–on­go­ing). Ryan worked tire­lessly for over half a cen­tury to ad­vo­cate for, sup­port and cel­e­brate Inuit artists, and will be re­mem­bered for his re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tions. “Terry Ryan dreamt big,” re­marked Hon. Den­nis Glen Pat­ter­son in his re­marks to the Se­nate Cham­ber on Septem­ber 20, 2017. “Many non-Inuit have come north to seek trea­sure or ad­vance­ment or, yes, to make their mark, but few are loved and respected as Terry Ryan was.” Ryan, whose legacy will be felt for years to come, will be dearly missed by his friends across both the North and South.

Mary Yu­usipik Sin­gaqti (1936–2017)

One of Qa­mani’tuaq’s (Baker Lake), NU, most respected tex­tile artists, Mary Yu­usipik Sin­gaqti, passed away in late Septem­ber 2017, fol­low­ing a fifty-year ca­reer. The sec­ond-youngest daugh­ter of Jessie Oonark, Sin­gaqti was mar­ried to artist Nor­man Sin­gaqti. She be­gan her ca­reer in the arts as a stone carver in the early 1960s, but quickly be­came known for her wall hang­ings, which she be­gan mak­ing be­tween 1963 and 1965 while Gabriel Gély was crafts of­fi­cer at the Sanavik Co-op. Her colour­ful tex­tile works, filled with in­cred­i­bly de­tailed em­broi­dery, de­pict scenes of hunt­ing, trav­el­ling and com­mu­nity life—ref­er­ences to liv­ing tra­di­tion­ally on the land, be­fore set­tling in Qa­mani’tuaq in 1960. Her tex­tiles are no­table for their in­cred­i­bly dense and pre­cise stitch­ing, which she uti­lized to add in­cred­i­ble de­tail to fig­ures’ cloth­ing and an­i­mals’ fur and feath­ers. For much of her ca­reer, Sin­gaqti re­sisted draw­ing, claim­ing that peo­ple said her draw­ings too closely re­sem­bled those of her brother Wil­liam Noah. She fi­nally picked up pen­cils in the late 1990s, at the rec­om­men­da­tion of David Ford, Gen­eral Man­ager of Jessie Oonark Ltd. Sin­gaqti be­gan mak­ing draw­ings that in­cor­po­rated the fine de­tail and flat­tened per­spec­tives of her wall hang­ings, but, unrestricted by the con­straints of tex­tile, her draw­ings are more pre­cise and lively. Many of her bright, colour­ful draw­ings and tex­tiles will be the sub­ject of an up­com­ing solo ret­ro­spec­tive at the Win­nipeg Art Gallery. The artist was quite ner­vous about the re­cep­tion of her art­work, “I worry if peo­ple are go­ing to like them,” she was quoted say­ing. “We were al­ways brought up not think­ing you’re too fa­mous or too proud.” De­spite the artist’s reser­va­tions, we’re cer­tain her work will be em­braced.

Sa­monie (Sam) Toonoo (1969–2017)

Sa­monie Toonoo, the trail­blaz­ing artist who pushed against tra­di­tional ideas of what Inuit sculp­ture could be, passed away in Septem­ber 2017. He was the youngest son of artists Toonoo and Sheo­juke Toonoo and brother of Ju­tai Toonoo and Oviloo Tun­nil­lie. Sur­rounded by artists in his home­town of Kin­ngait (Cape Dorset), NU, Sa­monie be­gan to carve in the early 1990s. From the out­set, he made ma­ture work that shared with au­di­ences his unique, un­ex­pected and af­fec­tive view­point. Sa­monie’s early works de­picted an­i­mals and hu­man fig­ures with fine de­tail and ex­cep­tional qual­ity. Over time, he be­gan to im­bue his works with sur­real, macabre and grotesque el­e­ments, which earned him an en­thu­si­as­tic au­di­ence in the South. He had the abil­ity to cre­ate works that were both del­i­cate and dis­qui­et­ing, emerg­ing from his imag­i­na­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence. His art­work also ad­dressed im­por­tant so­cial is­sues, in­clud­ing the con­tin­ued ef­fect and trauma of col­o­niza­tion on Inuit. Sa­monie’s wildly imag­i­na­tive steatite and bone sculp­tures have been in­cluded in solo and group shows across the coun­try. Sig­nif­i­cantly, his work was on dis­play in Scream, a two-per­son ex­hi­bi­tion that show­cased his work, along­side that of Ed Pien, at the Justina M. Bar­nicke Gallery in 2010. Some peo­ple, when they come from a fam­ily of vi­sion­ary artists, shy away from mak­ing work that pushes the en­ve­lope for fear that they won’t be able to live up to the work of their rel­a­tives. This is un­true for Sa­monie Toonoo, who, de­spite be­ing the brother of two of the most im­por­tant artists of their time, made in­cred­i­bly provoca­tive and per­sonal work. Sa­monie will be re­mem­bered for carv­ing his own path with seal, skulls, shamans and spir­its.

BE­LOW Terry Ryan (back) with artists Parr, Ki­ak­shuk, Pit­se­o­lak Ashoona, Keno­juak Ashe­vak, Ee­gy­vad­luk Ragee, Lucy Qin­nu­ayuak, Na­pachie Pootoo­gook and Pudlo Pud­lat in Kin­ngait, 1961

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.