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

Assemblage of humans, animals and birds with hunting theme. Two humans dressed in skins, one shown from front holding knife in one hand and skin on drying rack in other; side view of second figure holding spear in two hands. Third figure, human in animal disguise(?), standing sideways holding rectangular object with skin(?), bird at feet. Two narwhals, one at lower right and one at lower left. Three stylized animals, one with seal(?) in mouth. Inscription, in pencil, from lower left: '11/50'; artist's name; Canadian Eskimo Art Committee blind embossed stamp.