The Inuit (sometimes called Eskimo) are one of the aboriginal peoples of the Arctic. A special exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, Washington, featured The Inuit Art of Povungnituk.
According to the display:
“In the 1950s, encouraged by a local priest, a group of Inuit artists in the village of Povungituk formed a cooperative dedicated to ‘independence through common effort.’ Located along the eastern shores of Hudson Bay in Nunavik in Arctic Quebec, the indigenous artists of The Povungituk Cooperative became known for the distinctive style and quality of their printmaking and carving. Povungituk subject matter reflects the history and legends of a culture. Less concerned with aesthetics than with the illustration of daily realities, the work is populated with creatures, experiences, fantasies and lore, revealing a glimpse of the indigenous Arctic world view. Crisp images of native animals and human figures set against stark backgrounds portray the rituals of survival of the people and creatures of the harsh northern regions.”
One of Povungituk’s most celebrated artists and one of the original founders of the Povungituk Artist Cooperative was Paulosie Sivuak (1930-1986). He was not only an artist, but also an activist who was involved with the political and economic issues confronting the Inuit.
The artists in Povungituk use three basic printing techniques.
Stonecuts are adapted from the woodcut, but stone is used instead of wood to create the printing block. To make the printing block, the artist first draws on flat surface of a locally quarried soapstone and then carves into the stone to create the relief.
Stenciling is a method of blocking the inking area.
Serigraphy uses light sensitive film. The artist first draws on acetate which is then placed against the film and exposed to light. The emulsion on the film hardens while the unexposed lines of the drawing slough off when rinsed. The film is then transferred to stretched silk.
Shown above is Dreams of Wolves and Men by Simon Tookoome (1934-2010) in 1980. Shown above is Tupilak by Simon Tookoome (1924-2010). This woodcut was done in 1998. Shown above is Shamanizing by Aoudla Pudlat (1951-2006). This is a woodcut. Shown above is Thinking of Flying by Aningnerk Kookeeyont, a stencil made in 1979. Shown above are some Inuit carvings. More Inuit carvings.