Lucy Tasseor Tutswee­tok

Inuit Art Quarterly - - CONTENTS -

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

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