Fish of Tessikakjuak

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

One large profile fish facing to the left side. The upper portion of the body is olive green while the lower part of the body including the dorsal fin, the two side fins, the under fin, and the tail are bronze-gold-coloured. Stamped in the corner on the upper left, there are the names of the artist and printmaker in Inuit syllabics above a Cape Dorset stylized ''red igloo''. Pencil inscription across the bottom reads 'Fish of Tessikakjuak Stone Cut 37/50 Dorset 1974 Tye'. In the lower right corner, there is a circular embossing. The print is on a horizontally rectangular, off-white paper piece.