Arctic Day, 1970-1971
coloured pencil on cloth cushions stuffed with dacron
248.6 cm diameter
National Gallery of Canada (no. 16893)
Joyce Wieland's interest in the Arctic began even before her first trip to Cape Dorset in 1979. For her exhibition "True Patriot Love", held at the National Gallery in 1971, she made several works incorporating Inuit poetry and the flora and wildlife of the Arctic. The works reflected in visual form the artist's concerns with nationalist politics and environmental issues. Wieland believed that the Arctic, in all its physical manifestations, was an important part of the Canadian identity, and that the threat to its ecology posed a serious challenge for the nation. In "Arctic Day", the delicacy of the drawings on each of the 163 pillows suggests the fragility of the Arctic environment and our need to value and protect it.