COMPOSITION (EEGYVUDLUK DRINKING TEA)
Annie Pootoogook created COMPOSITION (EEGYVUDLUK DRINKING TEA) at a pivotal moment in her career. The drawing depicts her father Eegyvudluk Pootoogook, an Inuk printmaker and stone sculptor who died in 2000. Kin and kinship figure prominently in the artist’s work: Annie was the daughter of Napachie Pootoogook, a skilled draftswoman, and the granddaughter of renowned artist Pitseolak Ashoona. When Pitseolak was bedridden in her final years, her granddaughter would visit and watch her work; the senior artist told young Annie that one day she too would draw.
Preferring to work alone in her home, Pootoogook approached each of her drawings methodically, outlining forms in graphite before building up details in black ink and filling areas of positive space with brightly colored pencils. Her images reflect a diaristic impulse and are indicative of the Inuit concept of sulijuk, which means ‘true’ or ‘real’. Adding prosaic details such as a clock and electrical socket to her intimate domestic interior, the artist depicts her father in a quiet moment. Seated at a folding table, his hands wrapped around a hot mug of tea, Eegyvudluk gazes forward, his attention captured by something or someone beyond the right edge of the composition. In its realism and immediacy, Pootoogook’s scene is at odds with the traditional outdoor subject matter that many have come to expect from Inuit art. With a singular clarity of vision, the artist depicts an everyday event in modern Inuit life, as she saw it.