From the Editor
the Inuit Art Foundation turned the page on what ultimately became a landmark year for our organization. Programs were launched; awards were given as well as received; our small team expanded exponentially with the addition of key team members, including Inuit, in our Toronto department as well as across the North; we relocated offices; redesigned our magazine; and, fittingly, capped off the year with the highest number of subscribers to the IAQ in its history. Today, more people than ever before will receive this issue of the magazine. After ten issues together, it finally feels like the right time for this IAQ editorial team to take a running start at tackling Paper—the material that has arguably had the most profound impact on the architecture of the modern Inuit art industry, from the earliest sketches and maps to iconic prints and exploratory drawings, the latter rendered in ever increasing scale and intricacy. This issue is also a tribute to one of the most celebrated, complex and controversial figures in Inuit art history, our cover artist, Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016).
Sobey Awards (2006) is both a self-portrait and a refusal. It captures from the artist’s perspective the intense scrutiny and interest with which her work and her life were simultaneously considered and consumed following her renowned Sobey Art Award win in 2006. Yet in it, Pootoogook faces her adoring public while keeping her back to us, her audience. As viewers, we mirror the artist’s own vantage, meeting the crowd of clasped hands, video cameras, microphones and inquisitive faces. Even now, a dozen years on, their anticipation feels palpable. For an artist whose personal life was often made central to the public reception of her work, in selecting this image it was fitting to allow her to remain, notably, unavailable to us. It is an apt metaphor, and an important reminder, that for all we’ve come to know of Pootoogook’s searing, evocative work there will always be far more that rests just beyond reach. In the accompanying story, Caoimhe Morgan-Feir considers a lesser known aspect of Pootoogook’s oeuvre in the form of her spiritual and psychological portraiture and the unique visual lexicon the artist explored over the course of her brief and brilliant career.
Similar explorations and representations of the self are unpacked, examined and presented in our second Feature, “Uvanga/Self: Picturing Our Identity” by Inuk writer and artist Adina Tarralik Duffy, whose expansive and moving essay brings together the work of such illustrious graphic artists as Alootook Ipellie (1951–2007), Jamasee Pitseolak, Napachie Pootoogook (1938–2002) and Jutai Toonoo (1959–2015), among others. The proximity and intimacy of Duffy’s piece is likewise visible in our interview with
Eric Anoee Jr. on the early drawings of his late father, Eric Anoee Sr. (1924–1989). This remarkable collection of works on paper, created in the 1930s and produced largely on scraps of notebooks, overflows with images of landscapes, people and animals, as well as housing, airplanes, boats and other markers of the rapid and radical changes taking place in Arviat, NU, at the time. Finally, our Portfolio “Cutting Edge: Paper Today” brings together the work of nine diverse artists to offer a small glimpse of the immense talent and energetic future of those creating new forms on paper in Canada now. Complementing the profiles of these exciting contemporary artists, the important contributions of Pudlo Pudlat (1916–1992), Helen Kalvak, CM, RCA (1901–1984) and Agnes Nanogak Goose (1925–2001) are also highlighted in this issue, which seeks to recontexualize the work and legacies of more familiar personalities while introducing you to fresh faces and dynamic new forms.
Turn to page 52 to learn about the discovery of a notebook filled with drawings of life in the 1930s.