Ipellie_Dessin tiré de Arctic Dreams
Alootook IpellieArtic Dreams and Nightmares, dessin tiré du livre, 1993.
Photo : courtesy of Theytus Books

Drawing Inuit Satiric Resilience: Alootook Ipellie’s Decolonial Comics

Amy Prouty
Drawing is the medium that eventually broke the barrier between Inuit artists and the global contemporary art world. Since the mid-2000s, the works of graphic artists such as Tim Pitsiulak, Annie Pootoogook, and Jutai Toonoo have no longer been viewed as commercial gallery “oddities” and are often featured in prominent art institutions and biennales. Although each artist works in a markedly different aesthetic, they are united in their use of satire.

We see it in the playful irony of Pootoogook’s Watching Seal Hunting on Television (2002 – 03), in which her trademark confessional sketch style juxtaposes the romanticized television image of the Inuit hunter with the everyday banality of life in her community. Best known for large-scale pencil drawings of wildlife rendered in photo-realistic detail, Pitsiulak also created images such as Ice Dance (2012), in which the typically romanticized animals of the North engage in an impromptu breakdancing party. Throughout Toonoo’s career, he satirized expectations of Inuit art by creating pointedly unidealized images such as Shitty Summer (2011), in which the entire tundra landscape is covered with repeating expletives, scrawled crudely and frenetically in oil stick.

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This article also appears in the issue 93 - Sketch

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