Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok
Although widely known and loved for her voluminous, stacked family portraits in stone, Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok (1934–2012) was equally adept at creating immersive, vibrant worlds on paper, as seen here in Untitled (Sculptures in a Landscape) (2005). Like many of her Arviamiut contemporaries, Tutsweetok skillfully worked to coax even the most abstracted faces and forms from the unforgivingly dense, local grey stone surrounding her community. By contrast, her graphic figures stretch and crane themselves away from one another and from their bases, as if greeting long lost friends on neighbouring rocks, their mouths agape and caught mid-conversation. It is easy to imagine their words suspended in the crosshatched space between compositions—honey-yellow hellos, fiery magenta replies and cool, blue-green gossip. This is an animated scene full of life and energy, qualities that Tutsweetok also imbued in her sculptural works, but that are perhaps less readable in that solid form on first pass.
This work is also demonstrative of the artist’s repeated engagement with her favoured subjects of the human face, family and home, motifs that she returned to again and again throughout her long and prolific career. As a result, there is no question that Tutsweetok is clearly showing us four of her own carvings. This is an artwork about artwork and a portrait of other portraits, and it’s this simple fact that relays the most poignant, emotive tug of all. Drawn at the age of 70, this work encapsulates the arc of a career and a life lived.
For Tutsweetok, perhaps the output of it all could be surmised as sculptures in a landscape.
Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok (1934–2012 Arviat) — Untitled (Sculptures in a Landscape)2005Wax crayon and graphite 50.2 × 65.5 cm