Fox Traps and Anxious Hunters

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

Print depicting a scene composed of four rows: the top row is of two igloos and three hunters, two of the hunters are in profile holding nets, and one is holding a knife (?); the next row depicts three seals of different sizes; the following row is composed of two seals, a bear, and a walrus; the bottom row is a seal and a narwhal that has a yellow body with black spots and a long protrusion at the forehead. The name of the printmaker is printed in Inuit syllabics above the Cape Dorset stylized red igloo seal in the lower left-hand corner. Below the image is written, "Fox traps and anxious hunters Lithograph 17/50 Dorset Jamasie 1976," and the name of the artist is written in Inuit syllabics. The Canadian Eskimo Arts Council and the Cape Dorset Cooperative blind embossed stamps are in the lower right-hand corner.