Friday, 2 October 2009

Printmaking in the Artic

Now and again I dip into or happen to come across Inuit printmaking and I have a long standing admiration for graphic works in particular from this culture.  In particular what appeals to me are those images that refer to their folklore and mythology such as this print by Malaya Pitsiulak,  from the Pannirtuq community. 

This print is called  "The Hunter, the Bear and the Inukshuit"

Inuksuit are among the most important objects created by the Inuit, who were the first people to inhabit portions of Alaska, Arctic Canada and Greenland. The term Inuksuk (the singular of Inuksuit) means "to act in the capacity of a human." It is an extension of Inuk, meaning "a human being."

Among many practical functions, Inuksuit are employed as hunting and navigation aids, coordination points, indicators and message centres.

In addition to their earthly functions, certain Inuksuk-like figures had spiritual connotations and were objects of veneration.

Heres another print, a lino cut this time by Lipa Pitsiulak called "Sedna Luring a Fish".


In Inuit mythology, Sedna (Inuktitut Sanna, ᓴᓐᓇ) is a deity and goddess of the marine animals, especially mammals such as seals. She lives in and rules over Adlivun, the Inuit underworld. Sedna is also known as Arnakuagsak or Arnarquagssaq (Greenland) and Nerrivik (northern Greenland) or Nuliajuk (District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories). Although Sedna is sometimes thought to predominate throughout the Canadian Arctic she was known by other names by different Inuit groups

Here is a link to some more lovely mainly fairly recently created Inuit prints using some of the earlier techniques such as stencil, and stone cut.  Many are made using , silk screen, aquatint, etching and lithography.

Here's another which gives a survey of Inuit printmaking surveying it's evolution over the past 40 years.

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