Qayait (kayaks) #13 (2003)
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.
ABOVE Elisapee Inukpuk (1938–2018 Inukjuak) —Qayait (kayaks) #132003Mixed media Dimensions variable FOFA GALLERY