Long Time Float­ing on Ice Field


Inuit Art Quarterly - - 5 WORKS - CHRISTA OUIMET De­vel­op­ment Man­ager

In many of cel­e­brated Pu­vir­ni­tuq, Nu­navik, QC, artist Joe Talirunili’s (c. 1893–1976) draw­ings and sto­ries, ice is fre­quently ref­er­enced. At times ice could be an is­land of safety to build a camp or, at oth­ers, an en­emy to hu­mans that dam­ages boats, cuts off pas­sage­ways and melts quicker than an­tic­i­pated, send­ing fam­i­lies flee­ing into an umiak (boat) in search of a new home.

The stone­cut print Long Time Float­ing on Ice Field dis­plays this mo­tif along­side his sig­na­ture rugged style, de­pict­ing a set of daily ac­tiv­i­ties. All of the fig­ures are given equal space and size on the pa­per, seem­ingly of­fer­ing no more im­por­tance to one ac­tion over an­other. The cari­bou ap­pear like pre­his­toric crea­tures, un­aware of the crouched hunter with his ar­row lethally aimed at them. An­other fig­ure builds a snow house on the ice, while oth­ers tra­verse it. Here, Talirunili is doc­u­ment­ing the days of sub­sis­tence liv­ing, show­ing peo­ple hunt­ing for food and de­pen­dent on the sea­sonal mi­gra­tions of Arc­tic an­i­mals that were in­te­gral to their sur­vival. In a sense, it is an im­age of be­ing in the world. It reaf­firms that the life cy­cle tran­spir­ing on the ice floe is no dif­fer­ent than the one tak­ing place on land.

LEFT Joe Talirunili(c. 1893–1976 Pu­vir­ni­tuq)Long Time Float­ing on Ice Field1965S­tone­cut21 × 52.1 cmCOUR­TESY FE­HE­LEY FINE ARTS

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