Elisapee Ishulutaq

“I drew this [Nunagah (My Home Place)] so when I pass away people will remember me by my stories. When Paul [Machnik] gave me the blank paper, I wondered how on earth am I going to do this?  But I was happy working on larger paper … I can fit more stories and draw larger figures and had no problems with it. I was comfortable using oil stick but I found I had to draw carefully, perfectly.” 2012

Elisapee Ishulutaq has had an artistic career that spans the development of the visual arts in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Canada.  She began carving and drawing in 1970, when the arts & crafts programs were starting up in the new settlement.  

For over forty years, she has contributed drawings to both the tapestry studio and print workshop where more than 94 of her original images have been made into prints and released as part of the Pangnirtung annual collection.  She is the last living artist who participated in the first print collections, and yet is still actively involved in the new directions being explored in graphic media at the community’s Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts.

Relative to artists in other communities, particularly Cape Dorset, those in Pangnirtung have had a higher level of interest in depicting actual events and places that relate to the history of their community.  At the forefront of this approach, Ishulutaq has been increasingly adding historical and autobiographical references in her artwork.  In Nunagah (My Home Place) the artist depicts episodes from her lifetime, significantly on an epic scale