Uqqurmiut: Drawings and Prints from Pangnirtung on View at the National Gallery of Canada
Ottawa, Canada - March 25, 1999
The unique beauty of the north comes to life in a special exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada beginning April 1st, 1999. Uqqurmiut: Drawings and Prints from Pangnirtung features some 20 drawings and prints on loan from the collection of the Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association, Pangnirtung.
" The National Gallery is proud to present an important and unique collection of works that have rarely if ever been seen outside of the Pangnirtung region", stated Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada.
Pangnirtung is located on Baffin Island, in Cumberland Sound, just a few kilometres from the Arctic Circle. The hamlet is nestled between the water, mountain peaks, fiords, and sheer rock face. Given the area's spectacular geography, it comes as no surprise that landscape features in the local artistic production to a degree unprecedented in Inuit art. Whether using landscape as a compositional backdrop, as in Tommy Nuvaqirq's Untitled (Qammait on the Land, or recording it in a finely detailed sketch, such as Simon Shaimaiyuk's nostalgic Untitled (The Hudson's Bay Post, Pangnirtung, 1923), the artists of this community convey both the physical beauty of their surroundings and their emotive ties to the land.
The drawings and prints from Pangnirtung are distinguished as well by the exceptional amount of autobiographical and historical subject matter they contain. Among the themes are: traditional life on the land, the coming of the whalers, the presence of the RCMP, and the creation of the permanent settlement of Pangnirtung. The result is a unique glimpse of history communicated through the eyes and hands of Inuit artists. Beyond mere illustration, these works on paper evoke an indelible sense of time and place.
Interviews with Christine Lalonde, Acting Assistant Curator, Inuit Art, National Gallery of Canada, are available upon request.
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