Untitled (Becoming a Community), 2004
Canadian (Inuit), 1958
coloured pencil and black felt pen on wove paper
66.2 x 101.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 43370)
© Dorset Fine Arts
Qavavau’s style is unique among his contemporaries at Cape Dorset’s Kinngait Studios, oscillating between extremes, from drawings that are highly narrative and lyrical to those that are abstract and wildly expressive. He combines both in this work, depicting a major transition period in the 1940s and 50s, when Inuit began to move from seasonal camps to settlements. He renders the historically significant details – snowhouses, dogsleds, buildings and even the airstrip – with naturalistic precision. Confounding our sense of place and scale with his unexpected bird’s eye view of the community’s locale on an imaginary island, perhaps he indicates feelings of trepidation or anticipation towards the unknown.
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