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 three Arctic birds, each with light yellow breasts, and a brown body and wings with an overall black crescent-shaped pattern. One is facing away from the other two birds with its beak open and curled tongue protruding. Of the two remaining birds, the top most bird is front-facing and has its head bent downwards, which seems to indicate that the bird is preening itself. The remaining bird is pictured in profile and is bent forwards with its beak aimed towards the foot of the open-beaked bird. The Cape Dorset stylized red igloo seal is printed above the name of the printmaker, which is in Inuit syllabics, in the lower left-hand corner. Below the image is written, "Sitgarriat Lithograph 2/50 Dorset 1977 Kananginak," with the name of the artist written in Inuit syllabics. The Canadian Eskimo Arts Council and Cape Dorset Cooperative blind embossed stamps are in the lower right-hand corner.