National Gallery of Canada
Janet Kigusiuq Uqayuittuq
Qiviuq Legend (Qiviuq Meets the Wood Cutter), 1992
Felt, embroidery floss, and stroud
In Qiviuq Legend (Qiviuq Meets the Wood Cutter), Janet Kigusiuq Uqayuittuq illustrates a sequence from one of the most important stories in Inuit oral tradition. The hierarchical arrangement of the figures focuses attention on Iqatliyuq, the wood cutter (a giant who “chops” logs into fish) and the monumental fish (created by him to help Qiviuq cross the water to his bird family). Qiviuq is shown in smaller scale to them but is distinctive in his fringed parka from the Kivalliq region. Large appliqué forms in bold colours structure the image while embroidered work is reserved for where it will be most effective, such as the body of the giant fish where it replicates shimmering scales. More than merely decorative, the colourful abstract pattern created through the stitches is a marvel in its own right.