Annie Pootoogook

  • An instinctive chronicler of her generation, Annie Pootoogook hailed from a long line of artists in Cape Dorset (known today as Kinngait), Nunavut. She began drawing in 1997 under the encouragement of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative in Kinngait. Within a decade, Pootoogook became the catalyst for an explosion of creativity originating from Kinngait Studios. Challenging conventional expectations of ‘Inuit’ graphic art which had favoured depictions of Arctic wildlife and indigenous hunting practices, she created works peppered with images of daily life in her community: from waiting in line at the grocery store to sharing meals and watching reality television with her family. Among her most arresting and personal works are those depicting moments of intimate eroticism as well as emotional grief, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Her immediate success drew the attention of a broad cross-section of art collectors; more importantly, it signaled to fellow artists in the North that there were no longer limits to subject matter and scale. Rather than representing scenes of timeless nomadic existence from an era before colonial settlement, Pootoogook’s images reflected the immediate conditions of her life as an indigenous woman artist working in contemporary Canada.

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Annie Pootoogook

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An instinctive chronicler of her generation, Annie Pootoogook hailed from a long line of artists in Cape Dorset (known today as Kinngait), Nunavut. She began drawing in 1997 under the encouragement of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative in Kinngait. Within a decade, Pootoogook became the catalyst for an explosion of creativity originating from Kinngait Studios. Challenging conventional expectations of ‘Inuit’ graphic art which had favoured depictions of Arctic wildlife and indigenous hunting practices, she created works peppered with images of daily life in her community: from waiting in line at the grocery store to sharing meals and watching reality television with her family. Among her most arresting and personal works are those depicting moments of intimate eroticism as well as emotional grief, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Her immediate success drew the attention of a broad cross-section of art collectors; more importantly, it signaled to fellow artists in the North that there were no longer limits to subject matter and scale. Rather than representing scenes of timeless nomadic existence from an era before colonial settlement, Pootoogook’s images reflected the immediate conditions of her life as an indigenous woman artist working in contemporary Canada.