Summer Bird

About this object

History of use

Contemporary Inuit prints were first produced at Cape Dorset in 1957. Although precursors to printmaking can be seen in women's skin applique work and in men's incising of ivory, stone and bone, the impetus for printmaking was as a commercial venture. This venture was established jointly by Inuit artists and John Houston, the civil administrator for Cape Dorset. Other Inuit communities quickly followed the commercial success of Cape Dorset's West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative. Printmaking developed as a communal activity following a Japanese, rather than a Western, model of serigraph production. Each year the cooperatives produce a series of limited edition prints which are sold in the retail art market. In 1965, the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council was established from the Canadian Eskimo Art Committee to ensure high standards were maintained. Printmaking, along with stone carving, provide cash income for communities which have undergone rapid and significant change, during the late 20th century, from traditional hunting based societies to settled communities dependent on consumer goods. The prevalent images depicted in Inuit art are of traditional life, arctic animals and mythology. Recently, contemporary subjects have been depicted by a minority of artists.

Cultural context

contemporary art

Physical description

Stonecut print of a bird body in profile but facing front; black eyes, beak, ears and feet; black and white chevron pattern on body. Four sets of stylized wings: brown and white with black tips; green, orange and black with white pattern; one brown and 2 green tail feathers. Upper left corner has Inuit syllabics of artist and printmaker's names, Cape Dorset Co-operative seal of stylized igloo. Below image in pencil from left: title; "Dorset 1970; stonecut 5/50; Mungita." In lower corner on left "21-70."