Qayait (kayaks) #13 (2003)

Inuit Art Quarterly - - 5 WORKS -

Walk­ing by the FOFA Gallery vit­rines in early Au­gust, I was thrilled to see sev­eral dio­ra­mas of dolls—a rare sight in a con­tem­po­rary art gallery. Com­posed mainly of minia­ture adult hu­mans and their stuff (cloth­ing, tools, tents), the scenes de­pict Inuit life on the land. It was chal­leng­ing to choose a favourite but, as a lover of bright colours, I was drawn to Qayait (kayaks) #13, a group­ing of five dolls in a semi-cir­cle around what ap­pears to be two tiny drums. Each wears a coat in a ba­sic, vivid crayon shade: yel­low, blue, red, black and orange. The at­ten­tion to de­tails, like em­broi­dery and belts, com­mand re­spect for Inukpuk’s (1938–2018) skill.

Bun­dled as they are, all we can see of the ac­tual doll is the face. Simple fea­tures are con­fi­dently drawn on with a fine black marker: eyes, eye­brows, two dots for a nose and a slightly smil­ing mouth. Some of them have fur for hair and a cou­ple have grey hair. I hardly ever see el­der dolls! They are so play­ful, so joy­ful. I imag­ine them about to sing a song or burst out laugh­ing.

SKAWENNATI

PHOTO GUY L’HEUREUX

ABOVE Elis­apee Inukpuk (1938–2018 Inukjuak) —Qayait (kayaks) #132003Mixed me­dia Di­men­sions vari­able FOFA GALLERY

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