March 18, 2021 -
Guest consultant Nak Alariaq
La Guilde is proud to present, in partnership with Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership: The Pilimmaksarniq / Pijariuqsarniq Project, the exhibition Pudlo Pudlat: Above the Limits.
Pudlo Pudlat (1916-1992), an Inuk hunter and artist, was born in the outpost camp Admadjuak and settled in Kinngait (Cape Dorset, Nunavut) in the 1950s. Pudlat and La Guilde’s history goes back to the 1950s when La Guilde hired a roving craft officer, Saumik (James Archibald Houston) to travel along the Arctic to Inuit communities. Saumik’s goal was to see how viable an arts economy would be, and what type of art and crafts could be created. Along with Pudlat, Saumik encouraged other Inuit to draw, such as Kenojuak Ashevak. The first generation Kinngait artists were established through the formation of Kinngait Studios (formerly known as the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative) in 1959 with the help of Saumik, Pudlat, Ashevak, and a group of trained and skilled master printmakers, starting with Iyola Kingwatsiak, Kananginak Pootoogook, Eegyludluk Pootoogook, and Lukta Qiatsuk. Since 1959, the group of Kinngarmiut (Kinngait residents) has released an annual collection of prints every fall based on Pudlat’s graphic designs. It is Canada’s longest-running arts cooperative still operating today.
Pudlat was the first Inuk to have a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada in 1990 and is one of Kinngait’s most celebrated graphic artists. He did not have professional training as an artist or sculptor. Until his late 40s, when Saumik encouraged him to draw, he survived through hunting and fishing along the Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Region). Pudlat was eloquent and open in the way he spoke about his life, family, and career drawing, living in outpost camps and eventually settling in Kinngait, though still travelling the world to share his art and perspective.
“When I want to draw, it seems like the pencil I'm holding has a mind of its own. Although my hand is holding it, the pencil seems to move by itself.” (Pudlo Pudlat, Inuktitut Magazine 1991:45-46)
The semi-permanent exhibition is a collaboration between La Guilde’s team and the consultant Nak Alariaq to show Pudlat’s amazing heritage. Included in the exhibition are a few texts presenting the artist and aspects of his works (collaboration, technologies, travelling, and animals).
Pudlo Pudlat: Above the Limits is not only about the advancements in Inuit Art made by Pudlat, but also his life as an Inuk man which was radically changed mid-career—from hunter to artist. Pudlat’s work is an intimate and first-hand account of his journey travelling across the world. Pudlat had a unique relationship with the art world as he was involved with the making of art and participated in exhibition openings. We wanted his perspective to be at the core of the exhibition. Above the Limits acknowledges the role of Pudlat in spreading Inuit Art, crossing subject-matter, and pushing the boundaries.
A behind-the-scenes of our Programming and Communications Manager, Genevieve Duval and Cultural Activities Coordinator and Galerie Assistant, Marie-Hélène Naud putting the exhibition together and a quick preview of the space:
The artist Napatsi Folger presents an artist talk on comics and the multiple possibilities offered by the juxtaposition of text and image. For those who couldn't attend, here is the video of the artist talk:
IMAGE : Assemblage of works from Pudlo Pudlat: Above the Limits, 2021. © La Guilde
VIDEO : Preview | Pudlo Pudlat: Above the Limits, 2021; Artist Talk: Discovering Comics | NAPATSI FOLGER, 2021. © La Guilde