Big Woman, 1974
Canadian (Inuit), 1906
colour stonecut and stencil on laid japan paper
Printed by Simon Tookoome
63.5 x 94.3 cm
Gift of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1989
National Gallery of Canada (no. 36558)
© Public Trustee of Nunavut. Estate of Jessie Oonark
Baker Lake artists issued their first print collection in 1970 and adopted the icon of a bow and arrow (shown in yellow on the lower right) as their community print symbol. Their imagery has been characterized by bold designs, often printed using a combination of stonecut, for the black linear elements, and stencil, to apply areas of vivid colour.
Jessie Oonark was an artistic matriarch and became one of Canada's most important artists. Her love of clothing design is evident in this image of an ornately dressed woman with striped hair sticks and an elaborately embellished "amauti" (woman's parka) in the Kivalliq regional style with exaggerated shoulders and a narrow front (called a "kiniq"). The two "ulus" extending from the woman's head are pure fantasy of the artist and are as much emblems of womanhood as is the child who perches above.