From interviews by Dorothy Harley Eber
With the drawings and prints of Pitseolak Ashoona
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 120
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This new edition, appearing more than thirty years after the first, contains additional drawings and prints by Pitseolak Ashoona and a new introduction by Eber that provides more information about the artist and the circumstances under which her groundbreaking oral biography came about. Pitseolak Ashoona, who died in 1983, was known for lively prints and drawings showing "the things we did long ago before there were many white men" and for imaginative renderings of spirits and monsters. She began creating prints in the late 1950s after James Houston started printmaking experiments at Cape Dorset, creating several thousand images of traditional Inuit life. Pitseolak Ashoona was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1974 and was also a member of the Order of Canada.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7120-4
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface to the Second Edition
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Pitseolak: Pictures out of my life
    (pp. 3-93)

    It is mid-July, 1970, and brilliant Arctic summer, when I ask Pitseolak if I may tape her autobiography. I have come to Cape Dorset on Baffin Island especially for the purpose and, very soon after the Nordair Otter touches down, I go looking for Quatsia Ottochie, Quatsia, nineteen and a modern Eskimo beauty, knows at firsthand the story of the Cape Dorset art movement. Her father, Ottochie (whose name she has adopted now that Eskimos need surnames), has worked in the craft shop of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative since shortly after print-making began, in the late fifties. Her English...

  5. Remembering Pitseolak Ashoona (ca 1907–1983)
    (pp. 95-133)

    "I know I have had an unusual life – being born in a skin tent and living to hear on the radio that two men have landed on the moon," Pitseolak tells us in her story. What a remarkable life, indeed, she lived and what skills she brought to the telling of it.

    You may still take a small plane into Cape Dorset – our pilot called ours the Bandit – but it’s a different journey from the one I made when Pitseolak and I first met in 1968. Now Cape Dorset has all the modern services: an airport, scheduled...

  6. Photographs from the Bowdoin
    (pp. 134-137)

    During his 1921–22 journeys up and down the coasts of the Foxe Peninsula, explorer (later Rear Admiral) Donald MacMillan recorded life in a number of Inuit camps and also at the Cape Dorset fur trading post. Pitseolak’s family members, who were guides and helpers to those on theBowdoinwhile she wintered at Schooner Harbour, appear in many photographs. MacMillan (and sometimes his crew) used the expedition’s Graflex camera which produced 4 by 5 inch nitrate negatives. In the 1970s, because of the fire hazard created by nitrate film, copy negatives were made of the entire collection. The Peary-MacMillan...

  7. About the Interpreters
    (pp. 139-139)
  8. Acknowledgments and Sources
    (pp. 140-141)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 142-142)
  10. Index
    (pp. 143-146)
  11. Map
    (pp. 147-147)