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Since the very first print release in 1959, we have witnessed a community that is frequently in a state of transition. New imports from the South and rapid acculturation continue to bring about profound changes in the region as people grapple with navigating every day life in a community that is still
re-defining their collective post-colonial identity. Theirs is a world filled with stark polarities that require individuals to seek out balance between personal history, culture, language, their connection to the land and its resources to the modern, shifting realities of work, business, technology and social media. It is in the midst of this ongoing flux where the artists have established a contemporary visual culture that they can consider entirely true of themselves.

The 59th annual print collection presents an exciting mix of themes; the comforting and naturalistic are juxtaposed with familiar motifs presented in bold, new perspectives. Our established artists, Ningiukulu Teevee, Qavavau Manumie, Papiara Tukiki, Pitaloosie Saila, and Shuvinai Ashoona all return this year with their highly characteristic imagery. Cee Pootoogook and Padloo Samayualie, both in their mid-career, steadily continue to produce engaging work that delight the eye. Emerging talents, Pauojoungie Saggiak and Quvianaqtuk Pudlat, are confidently making waves in the art world and establishing a brand new stage of their own. Lastly, Axangayuk Shaa, a very established sculptor and the eldest artist featured in the collection, has just released his first print since 1961.

This year, the hamlet celebrated the inaugural opening of the Kenojuak Cultural Centre (KCC) in September. For a community that boasts one of the highest number of artists per capita in the country and previously had no public gallery or learning space for artists, there are high expectations for the KCC to further consolidate and strengthen local visual culture in the years to come. The KCC is also the new home of Kinngait Studios, the longest continuously running print studio in Canada. Large glass windows serve as partitions allowing the studio’s processes to be fully viewable by the public. It has already drawn some interest from youth who have come in to observe the printers at work – demystifying the process of art making and piquing the interest of promising young minds and hands. It may just be the start of fostering new talent for Kinngait Studios into the future.

Dorset Fine Arts is proud to release 34 prints in this year’s catalogue and would like to thank you all for partaking in our journey thus far. It is the culminated effort of all who were involved; the hard work of our artists and printers, as well as the WBEC staff. The sheer amount of support and cultivation required to realize each year’s collection is no small feat. We look forward to moving into into our sixtieth year of operation together and beyond as we continue to embrace fresh possibilities of printmaking in Cape Dorset.

– Naia Wang

 

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