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Nipirasait: Many Voices
Inuit Prints from Cape Dorset

January 24 - March 9, 2011

kenojuak image

Kenojuak Ashevak, Wisdom of the Elders, 2009, stonecut and stencil
Printer: Qiatsuq Niviaqsi


Nipirasait: Many Voices
Inuit Prints from Cape Dorset

January 24 – March 9, 2011

This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the Kinngait Studios, located in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, the largest federal territory in Canada, and part of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative. James A. Houston introduced printmaking to the north in the late 1950s, and Terry Ryan succeeded him soon thereafter to foster an innovative arts community of Inuit printmakers and stone carvers.

Today, notable artists of an older generation work alongside those younger to depict the power and beauty of the natural world, as well as town and camp life, traditional Inuit stories and mythic creatures, and, more recently, influences from the south. Living in such a harsh environment, these artists pay close attention to and respect the forces of nature, but their work also illustrates at times a certain lyricism in the portrayal of humans and animals with their surroundings.

Like many aspects of life in Cape Dorset, printmaking is a highly communal and collaborative endeavour. Skilled printmakers translate artists' drawings into stonecuts, lithographs, etchings and aquatints, and serigraphs. These original limited-edition prints are subsequently made available in annual collections to individuals, museums, and galleries around the world. St. Lawrence University is one of two institutions, along with the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Québec, to have acquired the entire 2009 collection of 36 prints by ten artists.

Nipirasait: Many Voices recognizes the creative spirit of these individuals and others, north and south of the border, who have worked closely with them to offer a distinct portrait of Inuit life and culture in the Canadian Arctic.

Special thanks to Christine Lalonde, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and Leslie Boyd Ryan, Dorset Fine Arts, Toronto. The Carlyle and Betty Barnes endowment fund at St. Lawrence provided support for the exhibition and its premiere at the Canadian Embassy Art Gallery in Washington, DC, July 1– December 30, 2010.


For additional information about Inuit art, please see essays written by students from Fine Arts 448, taught by Professor Dorothy Limouze in Spring 2010.