Manasiah Akpaliapik and Pudlo Pudlat
Muskox and Our Massive Friend
About a decade ago, after having accumulated numerous pieces of ar t of various genres, I asked myself whether or not I was a collector. It was then that I expressly decided to be a collector of Inuit ar t; most of the works I owned at the time were Inuit prints together with a few carvings. Today, I limit myself to editioned prints—no drawings unless they relate to a print—and the occasional carving. A collection, in my view, should be broadly representative of the available material, while also reflecting the tastes and interests of the collector. My interests are reflected in a focus on experimental prints and printmaking media—stone block, wood block, engraving plate, lino block and stencil.
A collector, in my opinion, also has a responsibility to care for the ar t in their collection. Now, any older prints I acquire are restored and all frames have been upgraded to museum quality. In tandem, my support for institutions that support and celebrate Inuit ar t, such as the Kenojuak Cultural Centre, the Inuit Art Foundation and the Inuit Art Society, has increased.
Many of my favourite ar tists are now well represented in my collection: Niviaksiak (1908–1959), Kenojuak Ashevak, CC, ON, RCA (1927–2013), Jessie Oonark, OC, RCA (1906–1985) and Kananginak Pootoogook, RCA (1935–2010). Of the newer artists, I am especially fond of the work of Tim Pitsiulak (1967–2016) and Ningiukulu Teevee. The continued emergence of talented Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU, ar tists, including Teevee, as well as Shuvinai Ashoona, RCA and Nicotye Samayualie, is also a pleasure to observe.
My task here, however, is to discuss one of my favourite pieces—a very difficult choice to make. As a nod to the composition of my collection, I have chosen both a muskox sculpture and print that I display together. The sculpture, Muskox (c. 2002) by Manasiah Akpaliapik, depicts a large, windswept muskox of whalebone, horn and stone, captured mid-run. It was advertised by the Canadian Arctic Gallery of Basel, Switzerland, in the Fall 2003 issue of Inuit Art Quarterly (page 17 for those of you with an IAQ collection). I purchased it after seeing a few additional photographs. Since the piece is carved from whalebone, I was required to secure a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) approval from Environment Canada in order to bring it back to the country. Fortunately, that was not a problem.
Today, Muskox stands below a copy of Our Massive Friend (1984) by Pudlo Pudlat (1916–1992). This print, featuring a favourite subject of the artist, shows a single muskox rendered in black and brown ink, its face squarely facing the viewer. Taken together, the print and the sculpture create a satisfying aesthetic pair. The scale and lines of the face, as well as the horns in the print and the sculpture, are very similar. For good measure two other muskox prints—Kananginak’s Umingmuk (1973) and Pudlo’s Umingmuk (1973)—hang nearby: an interesting variety of interpretations of muskoxen by incredible artists who know them intimately.
— Erik Haites is the President of Margaree Consultants Inc. and an avid collector of Inuit art. His collection includes works from all communities and spans the history of printmaking, featuring examples of the many different media that have been used.
A collection, in my view, should be broadly representative of the available material, while also reflecting the tastes and interests of the collector.
Manasiah Akpaliapik (b. 1955 Ikpiarjuk) — OPPOSITE Muskox c. 2002 Whalebone, horn and stone 53 × 93 × 53 cm PHOTO ERIN YUNES/ ABBOTT IMAGING Pudlo Pudlat (1916–1992 Kinngait) — RIGHTOur Massive Friend 1984 Stonecut 64 × 97 cm © DORSET FINE ARTS