The exhibition Atautchikun | wâhkôtamowin includes works from artists and writers with degrees of connectedness to Inuk artists represented in the museum’s collection. These familial conversations across time and space illustrate what Inuit art is and can be outside of colonial frameworks of monetary gain. A contemporary artist who has several connections to other artists in the exhibition is Tony Anguhalluq.
Anguhalluq is part of a generation of Inuit artists who are extending and reinventing northern graphic traditions. The adopted son of Luke Anguhadluq and Marion Tuu’luq, whose work is also on display in this exhibition, Anguhalluq spent most of his childhood summers at a camp north of Qamanittuaq (Baker Lake), where he learned to hunt and fish. Brightly coloured and abstractly patterned, Anguhalluq’s drawings inventory life on the land and its seasonal rhythms.
The works by Anguhalluq’s adoptive parents are situated in the first gallery you enter when visiting Atautchikun | wâhkôtamowin.
Tuu’luq (1910-2002) was a member of the Utkusiksalingmiut (“the people of the soapstone pots”), a mostly inland dwelling group of Inuit. She was born at her family’s camp at Innituuq, in the Utkuhiksalik area near the Chantrey Inlet. Tuu’luq lived a traditional lifestyle for five decades until 1961 when she and her husband, artist Luke Anguhadluq, moved to the settlement of Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake). Tuu’luq is known primarily for her textile works but also produced graphic works like the one seen here, contributing to 13 editions of the Baker Lake print collection.
A renowned textile artist, Tuu’luq was a first-generation Inuit artist whose drawings, prints, and wall hangings have been displayed in major exhibitions in Canada and internationally, including a solo show of her work that opened at the National Gallery of Canada in 2002. Tuu’luq’s lively colour palette, coupled with her penchant for symmetry and anthropomorphic figures, give her works a unique aesthetic. Through her artistic contributions, Tuu’luq became a respected elder of the Baker Lake Inuit community. She later joined the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1978, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta in 1990.
His father Luke Anguhadluq was a hunter and camp leader throughout most of his life. He made his first drawings shortly after moving to Qamani’tuaq in 1961, over 80 of which were eventually featured in the Sanavik Co-operative’s print collection.
The below work shows an angakkuq or shaman in flight, rendered in Anguhadluq’s simplified forms and bright colours.