Revisiting Another Realm

“Birds and Woman’s Face”-Kenojuak

I visited my parents recently, and while I was there I spent some time looking through the books on their shelves. Most of them are the same books I grew up looking at when I was a kid, sitting in the living room of our house in Southern California. It was comforting to peruse them again, like looking at old family photo albums.

Some of my favorites are from my mother’s collection of Eskimo graphic art books (the proper term is Inuit, but her books are all from the pre-pollitically correct 1960s), and wouldn’t you know, these images that I’ve always liked so much were made using printmaking techniques – first introduced to the Inuit in the late 1950s.

“Two Men Discussing Coming Hunt” -Kavagawak

There is a great deal of humor in these images, but also great power and beauty. They are a vision into another culture’s world view – with high contrast and a wonderful use of negative space. Perhaps this is what happens when you live in a realm of ice and snow.

“The Arrival of the Sun” -Kenojuak

The Enchanted Owl-Kenojuak“The Enchanted Owl” -Kenojuak

This one below reminds me of Peter in The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats (one of the most perfect children’s books ever made).

‘Seal Hunter” -Niviaksiak

And looking at these books again, I realize this art likely influenced the direction my own work eventually took, although I didn’t see it until now.

“Polar Bear and Cub on Ice” -Niviaksiak

Image for Hello, Arctic!, 2002

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One response to “Revisiting Another Realm

  1. Love the Inuit art – storytelling through pictures and beautiful imagery. Thanks for sharing!

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