Teachers Lesson Plans

Prints and Drawings in Contemporary Inuit Art

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Joe Talirunili, Hunters who Went Adrift, 1965 and Davidialuk Alasua Amittu, Loon, 1962

In the stonecut technique, which is similar to the woodcut technique, the printer transfers a reversed image of the artist's original drawing on a smoothed stone surface. In the Puvirnituq printmaking tradition, the drawing is not transferred to the stone surface; it is rather done directly on it by the artist. Next, the engraver cuts the stone with a chisel to keep only what is part of the image. Then, he spreads ink over the surface with a roller. The inking process, which could take one hour at least, is done for each print of the edition. Afterwards, the printer takes a thin and soft sheet of paper and presses it on the inked surface with a special device. Finally, he removes the sheet and hangs it to dry.

Puvirnituq artists, like their Nunavik counterparts, fervently try to create true images that convey a message or depict an important event for them. In this quest for truth, these artists nevertheless adopt very different approaches, sometimes almost hyperrealist, like Davidialuk in Loon, sometimes more expressionist, like Talirunili in Hunters who Went Adrift.