Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts

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Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts
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Tapestries at the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts
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Location in Nunavut
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Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts (Canada)
Former namesPangnirtung Tapestry Studio (1991)
Craft Gallery (1991)
Pangnirtung Print Shop (1994)
General information
TypeArts and crafts centre
Location Pangnirtung, Nunavut
Coordinates 66°08′49″N065°42′31″W / 66.14694°N 65.70861°W / 66.14694; -65.70861 Coordinates: 66°08′49″N065°42′31″W / 66.14694°N 65.70861°W / 66.14694; -65.70861

Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts is an arts centre that was established by the Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association in 1990, in Pangnirtung, in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. The Centre includes a Tapestry Studio, a Craft Gallery, and Print Shop. In spite of its remote location and small population, numerous Inuit from Pangnirtung have successfully marketed their prints, carvings, sculptures, and textile arts, such as woven wall hangings, to southern collectors. Starting in the 1970s, limited edition prints from the original Print Shop were published annually as the Pangnirtung Prints Collection through the then-Eskimo Co-operative. [1] [2] In 1970 a weaving studio was established and over time the tapestries attracted an international market.


The centre's architecture echos the circular shapes of igloos and skin tents from traditional Inuit settlements.

In 2002 a major exhibition entitled, Nuvisavik: the place where we weave [3] :310–314 was shown at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (now known as the Canadian Museum of History) in Ottawa, Canada. The exhibition catalogue was edited by Maria Von Finckenstein, the curator for Inuit art at the museum. [4]

Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association

The fully Inuit-owned and run organization, The Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association, which was incorporated in 1988, is the major shareholder in The Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Craft. [5] [6] In 1999, Nunavut Development Corporation owned 51-per-cent interest in the Uqqurmiut Centre. [6] The development corporation, which invests in Nunavut's economy by creating jobs and opportunities for Nunavut residents in small hamlets, is a territorial corporation of the Government of Nunavut corporation, enabled by the Nunavut Development Corporation Act. [7]

Uqqurmiut means "the people of the leeside" in Inuktitut. Pangnirtung is at the edge of Pangnirtung Fjord, a fjord near Cumberland Sound in the lee side of a mountain. [8]


The newer buildings that replaced both the weave and print studios, are interconnected to echo the design of large igloos. They resemble "traditional circular tents of old Inuit settlements" and the interconnected nature of large igloos. [5]

Pangnirtung print shop

The 2,300 sq ft (210 m2) print shop, which was completed in 1994, replaced the original print shop which burned to the ground in 1993. [5] Starting in the 1970s, limited edition prints from the original print shop were published annually as the Pangnirtung Prints Collection through the then-Eskimo Co-operative. [1] [2] When the Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association released their 1999 collection of 22 catalogued prints, displays were held in "23 galleries throughout North America". [9]

Pangnirtung Tapestry Studio

The 2,100 sq ft (200 m2) Pangnirtung Tapestry Studio was completed in 1990. [5] [4]

The 1,400 sq ft (130 m2) Craft Gallery [5] promotes Inuit art and culture.


Elisapee Ishulutaq

Elisapee Ishulutaq, who was born at Kanirterjuak, on the east side of Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island in 1925, started her artistic career when she was in her forties. The stories that are referred to her artwork originate from her childhood in the 1920s and early 1930s when she lived in small, remote hunting and fishing camps following the traditional semi-nomadic life of the Uqqurmiut Inuit. Ishulutaq moved to Pangnirtung at about the same time that the Print Shop had opened. She was gifted in carving and drawing and became part of the first wave of artists there who contributed to the annual Print Collection. [10] In 1973, California College of Arts and Crafts for a print gave her an award of merit for one of her prints. By 2012, her tapestries and prints were in prominent public museums, such as the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, [11] :68 Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. [12]

Andrew Qappik

Andrew Qappik is known for the large tapestry entitled "Our ancestors' land is our land now", which is displayed at the Visitors' Centre in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. He designed the flag of Nunavut. [4] :168 [13] John Houston, who was the print shops "technical arts adviser" in the 1975, remembered how 11-year-old Andrew used to watch his uncles Solomon and Imoona Karpik, who were printmakers as they worked in the print shop. [14] In 1978, a retired University of North Carolina history professor, H.G. Jones, noticed then-14-year-old Andrew's work. As an historian he became intrigued with Qappik's depictions of Inuit life in the past. [9] By 1999, Jones had collected all 69 limited edition prints produced by Karpik. Jones, who first visited Pangnirtung Fiord in 1972, was attracted to Pang's Arctic landscape. [9] By 2015, Jones has made almost 31 annual visits to Pangnirtung and had purchased every one of Andrews's prints—etchings, stone cuts, lithographs, and linocuts." [14] In 2006, Jones donated his collection of "140 of Qappik’s catalogued and uncatalogued prints" to the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), which has the world's largest Inuit art collection. Karpik's first solo exhibition was held at the WAG in 2010 and featured these prints. [14] His 2003 drypoint print is a self-portrait of him working at the press in the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts Print Shop. [15]

Related Research Articles

Pangnirtung Place in Nunavut, Canada

Pangnirtung is an Inuit hamlet, Qikiqtaaluk Region, in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, located on Baffin Island. As of the 2016 census the population was 1,481, an increase of 3.9% from the 2011 census. The area of the town is 7.77 km2 (3.00 sq mi). Pangnirtung is situated on a coastal plain at the coast of Pangnirtung Fjord, a fjord which eventually merges with Cumberland Sound. As of January 2014, the mayor is Mosesee Qappik.

Jessie Oonark Inuit artist

Jessie Oonark, was a prolific and influential Canadian Inuit artist of the Utkuhihalingmiut Utkuhiksalingmiut whose wall hangings, prints and drawings are in major collections including the National Gallery of Canada. She was born in 1906 in the Chantrey Inlet (Tariunnuaq) area, near the estuary of the Back River in the Keewatin District of the Northwest Territories —the traditional lands of the Utkukhalingmiut Utkukhalingmiut, Utkukhalingmiut. Her artwork portrays aspects of the traditional hunter-nomadic life that she lived for over five decades, moving from fishing the camp near the mouth of Back River on Chantrey Inlet in the Honoraru area to their caribou hunting camp in the Garry Lake area, living in winter snow houses (igloos) and caribou skin tents in the summer. Oonark learned early how to prepare skins and sew caribou skin clothing. They subsisted mainly on trout, whitefish, and barren-ground caribou. The knife used by women, the ulu, their traditional skin clothing, the kamik, the amauti were recurring themes in her work. Oonark has had a major museum retrospective with accompanying scholarly monograph. Despite a late start – she was 54 years old when her work was first published – she was a very active and prolific artist over the next 19 years, creating a body of work that won considerable critical acclaim and made her one of Canada's best known Inuit artists.

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Pudlo Pudlat

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Eleeshushe Parr was an Inuk graphic artist and sculptor, from the Kingnait area, who produced over 1,160 drawings. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, and Sweden.

Ikayukta Tunnillie was an Inuit artist in the fields of printmaking and drawing. Tunnillie was born in Nunavut and traveled for much of her life. Tunnillie's work in drawing and printmaking focused on animals and life in the North. She was one of the oldest printmakers to work with the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative.

Malaya Akulukjuk was an Inuit artist who drew works inspired by her life as a shaman and Inuit spirituality through depictions of human-animal transformations. Akulukjuk was born in 1915, and lived a traditional Inuit life in the Qikiqtat Camp of Nunavut before moving to Pangnirtung on Baffin Island in 1962. Her career as an artist started later than most, at the age of 51.

Elisapee Ishulutaq was a self-taught Inuit artist, specialising in drawing and printmaking. Ishulutaq participated in the rise of print and tapestry making in Pangnirtung and was a co-founder of the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts, which is both an economic and cultural mainstay in Pangnirtung. Ishulutaq was also a community elder in the town of Pangnirtung. Ishulutaq's work has been shown in numerous institutions, including the Marion Scott Gallery in Vancouver, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada.

Mary K. Okheena

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  1. 1 2 Pangnirtung 1976 Prints/ Estampes. Pangnirtung, Northwest Territories: Pangnirtung Eskimo Co-operative, 1976.
  2. 1 2 Pangnirtung Eskimo Co-operative. Pangnirtung Prints. [Annual] Pangnirtung, Northwest Territories: Pangnirtung Eskimo Co-operative, (1973-1986).
  3. Cross, L. D. (2003). "Woven, Not Carved: The Pangnirtung Tapestries Are Northern Art with Global Appeal". Arctic. 56: 4. doi:10.14430/arctic627.
  4. 1 2 3 Finckenstein, Maria Von, ed. (February 2002). Nuvisavik: the place where we weave. Montreal, Quebec and London, Ontario: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp.  216. ISBN   9780773523357.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "The Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association" . Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  6. 1 2 Rodrigue, Michaela (June 18, 1999). "Art association deals for control of Uqqurmiut centre". Nunatsiaq News. Pangnirtung. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  7. "About". Nunavut Development Corporation (NDC). nd. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. "FAQ". 2006. Updated to 2017
  9. 1 2 3 Rodrigue, Michaela (July 2, 1999). "From North Carolina to Pangnirtung: art forges lasting bond". Nunatsiaq News. Iqaluit. Archived from the original on October 26, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017. A retired history professor from North Carolina has formed a deep bond with the work of printmaker Andrew Qappik.
  10. Muehlen, Maria (1995). North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary. Ishulutaq's deceptively simple but brilliant drawings capture with a few pencil lines narrative episodes out of her childhood. These pencil drawings have been used at the Pangnirtung Weave Shop as designs for stencil prints of extraodinary lyricism. Her designs charm us with their humor and immediacy. Through the use of multiple perspective using frontal, profile, and bird's eye view in the same image, she draws the viewer into the picture plane where usually everyday domestic happenings are depicted. Her carvings, using equally simplified forms, have the same appeal and charm as her drawings.
  11. Annual Report 2012−13 (PDF) (Report). National Gallery of Canada. 2013. p. 66. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  12. Canadian Women Artists History Initiative (CWAHI) (2007). "Eshulutak, Eleesapee". Artists database. Concordia University. Retrieved October 25, 2017. Updated 2011. Other spellings: Eleeseepee, Elisapee, Eshulutaq, Ishulutaq, Ishulutak)
  13. Pangnirtung Print Catalogue, 1984. Pangnirtung Print Shop. Annual Pangnirtung Print collection. 1986. The drawings I do are for the people who suffered and who struggled for their lives—for food and clothing. What strength was used by our great-grandfathers in their livelihood. That is what I show in my drawings. I put some feeling into them. I make an adventure and share my art with the people of any country who love my art. I make designs on paper.
  14. 1 2 3 Osborne, Season (March 16, 2015). "Andrew Qappik: Printmaker Extraordinaire". Arctic Journal. Retrieved October 25, 2017. "Andrew would get off school and come straight to the print shop,” says Houston. “He was just observing. He was the perfect fellow to have around — friendly, easygoing, and quiet." James Houston
  15. "Self Portrait (2003) by Andrew Qappik (Karpik)". Spirit Wrestler. Retrieved October 25, 2017.