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Highpoint Presents: Kinngait Studios

Printmaking in the Arctic Circle

On View: October 19 – November 17, 2018

Opening Public Reception: Friday, October 19, 6:30 – 9:00 pm

Tour and talk by the Inuk Art scholar, Heather Igloliorte:
Friday, November 16, 5:30-6:30pm and 7:30-8:30pm.

Pictured: Undersea Illusion by Pitaloosie Saila, 2012, Lithograph

Pictured: Undersea Illusion by Pitaloosie Saila, 2012, Lithograph

Highpoint is thrilled to present Kinngait Studios: Printmaking in the Arctic Circle, an exhibition of recent prints created at the Inuit printmaking studio at the West Baffin Co-operative in Nunavut, Canada. For almost 60 years, native artists and printmakers have created prints in this remote Arctic locale that are coveted across the globe. Highpoint’s exhibition highlights recent prints which demonstrate the skill and breadth of work being created in this unique studio.

When the West Baffin Co-operative opened in 1959, printmaking was a new artistic medium for the Inuit community. However, they have been drawing and carving since time immemorial. Imagery that had been passed down through generations found its way into the drawings and prints of this vibrant community. Artists depicting a wide range of imagery are included in the exhibition, from traditional Inuit practices to contemporary subject matter to storied Inuit lore. Artists such as Ningeokuluk Teevee, who has a comprehensive knowledge of Inuit legends, created Nuliajuq’s Fate, a depiction of the origin story of Nuliajuq, the spirit of the sea from Inuit lore. Kananginak Pootoogook, one of the first printmakers to be trained at Kinngait, depicted contemporary Inuit life in his highly-sought after prints. Pootoogook recently received worldwide posthumous acclaim when his drawings were featured at the 2017 Venice Biennale, one of the most famous and prestigious world art events. He is the first Inuit artist to be included in the Biennale and his drawings were seen and admired by millions of visitors. 

The artists at the Kinngait printmaking studio work in tandem with the printmakers, who are skilled craftsmen and also members of the Inuit community. The artists create the drawings and imagery and the printmakers translate those drawings into the print medium. Although most traditional printmaking techniques are used at Kinngait Studios, the printers are known for their stonecut prints. The stonecut method, a specialized relief technique, was developed and perfected at the Kinngait Studios. A stonecut carver cuts away at the flat surface of the soft soapstone, which is native to the region. Any of the original surface that remains is inked and printed. Although this is a slow and meticulous process, the resulting prints have a highly-desired visual aesthetic and is unique to Inuit printmaking.

The printmaking tradition at the Kinngait Studios at the West Baffin Co-operative in Nunavut, Canada epitomizes the ingenuity and enterprising spirit of printmaking studios all over the world. We are honored to present these prints to the community and hope that they inspire visitors as much as they inspire the international printmaking communities.

Included artists are: Saimaiyu Akesuk, Kudluajuk Ashoona, Shuvinai Ashoona, Siassie Kenneally, Killiktee Killiktee, Qavavau Manumie, Ohotaq Mikkigak, Pitseolak Niviaqsi, Ningiukulu Nungusuituk, Tim Pitsiulak, Cee Pootoogook, Kananginak Pootoogook, Pauojoungie Saggiak, Kakulu Saggiaktok, Pitaloosie Saila, Ningeokuluk Teevee, Simionie Teevee, and Papiara Tukiki. 

The Kinngait (pronounced Kinn-ite) Studios (The printmaking studios of the West Baffin Co-operative) has earned a worldwide reputation for the quality and originality of limited edition prints made by its member artists. Every year since 1959 the print making studios have released an annual catalogued collection of between 30 and 60 images as well as numerous commissions and special releases. The studio utilizes a broad range of printmaking techniques, including lithography, stencil, intaglio, screen printing, and most notably stonecut technique. Kinngait Studios is the longest continuous running print studio in Canada.

About Lender, Dorset Fine Arts, Toronto: Dorset Fine Arts was established in Toronto in 1978 as the wholesale marketing division of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative. The Co-operative is in Cape Dorset, Nunavut and is unique among the Arctic Co-operatives for its focus on the arts and artists of the community. The Annual Graphics Collection from Cape Dorset has been released since 1959 and the Co-operative also represents many acclaimed sculptors and drawing artists. Dorset Fine Arts was established to develop and serve the market for Inuit fine art produced by the artist members of the Co-operative. Sales and exhibitions of prints, drawings and sculptures are made through the Dorset Fine Arts showroom in Toronto to galleries around the world.

About Heather Igloliorte, Inuk Art Scholar: Heather Igloliorte is an Inuk scholar and independent curator who holds the University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her teaching and research interests center on Inuit and other Native North American visual and material culture, circumpolar art studies, performance and media art, the global exhibition of Indigenous arts and culture, and issues of colonization, sovereignty, resistance and resurgence.

Heather is the Co-Director of the Initiative for Indigenous Futures Cluster (IIF) in the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, Co-Chair of the Indigenous Circle for the Winnipeg Art Gallery, working on the development of the new national Inuit Art Centre; the Board of Directors for North America's largest Indigenous art historical association, the Native North American Art Studies Association; the Editorial Advisory Committee of Inuit Art Quarterly; and the Faculty Council of the Otsego Institute for Native American Art History at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Earlier Event: October 4
First Thursday: Stencil Monoprint
Later Event: November 1
First Thursday: Watercolor Monoprint