Annie Pootoogook was born in 1969 in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. She began drawing in 1997, and is a member of an extraordinary artistic family. Her father, Eegyvadluq, was a talented carver and one of the first stonecut printmakers in the Kinngait Studios at Cape Dorset. Her mother, Napachie, was a committed graphic artist and long-time contributor to the annual print collections from Cape Dorset. Her grandmother, Pitseolak Ashoona, was one of the first to experiment with the new medium of drawing during the transition years when Inuit were leaving their traditional camps and moving to permanent settlements in the Canadian Arctic. Pitseolak and Napachie went on to become two of the most prolific and highly respected Inuit graphic artists of their respective generations.
Annie is an instinctive chronicler of her times. She shares this sensibility with her mother and her grandmother, both of whom used their drawings to share their way of life with an outside audience. Taken together, the work of these three women reveals the profound changes that have taken place among Inuit in Canada’s far north over the span of the last 50 years.
Annie’s drawings reflect her experience as a contemporary female artist living and working in the changing milieu of Canada’s far north. Although firmly rooted to the specifics of her time and place, she manages to transcend cultural boundaries and present the details of her everyday life in an engaging way, inviting the viewer into both her public and private worlds. From the apparently mundane (the line-up for the ATM machine at the Co-op store, watching television with her family) to the personal and intimate (her experience with spousal abuse, the loss of her mother) Annie expresses a wide range of content and emotions.
Annie’s work has been represented in several commercial exhibitions since 2002. Annie spent the summer of 2006 in Dufftown, Scotland where she was artist-in-residence at the Glenfiddich Distillery “Spirit of Creativity” program. She went on to win the prestigious Sobey Arts Award in October, 2006.
Cape Dorset Print Collection, 2008