WAG Showcases Elisapee Ishulutaq Mural, Yesterday and Today
Winnipeg, Manitoba, April 10, 2015: The Winnipeg Art Gallery is pleased to showcase a newly commissioned mural by Elisapee Ishulutaq, Yesterday and Today. The twenty-foot oil stick drawing illustrating everyday life in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, is on view until May 31.
“The WAG is proud to display this new work by Elisapee Ishulutaq,” comments Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO. “She is a phenomenal artist, a Member of the Order of Canada, energetic, and a vital artistic force in her Arctic community. This colourful mural reveals the scope and degree of innovation of this important artist’s work.”
Using oil sticks on paper, Ishulutaq’s mural depicts summer scenes of her earlier life on the land on the left half of the paper, and a more modern winter scene on the right side. The summer scene includes a qammaq, a semi-permanent dwelling used all year round, with a frame of bones covered with scraped and fur-covered seal skins and insulated with peat moss in the winter. The winter scene shows people entering and exiting buildings that include a co-op store and a church, while an airplane and a helicopter take off from the runway in the background. Two themes of past and present revolve around a lake inhabited by humans and animals. The clear blue water connects visually with the sky, framing the mountains of the Cumberland Sound.
“Elisapee Ishulutaq’s is known for recording the intimate details of everyday life as she has lived it,” adds Darlene Coward Wight, WAG Curator of Inuit Art. “Her use of multiple perspectives, employing frontal, profile, and bird’s eye view in the same image, is also characteristic, and these unexpected shifts add interest and liveliness to her detailed scenes.”
Coward Wight travelled to Pangnirtung with art supplies for the project and worked with Ishulutaq for five days in October, 2014. The artist worked two more days to finish the drawing commissioned by the WAG in 2014.
Ishulutaq, now 90 years old, lived a traditional camp life on the land until 1970 when she and her family moved into the community of Pangnirtung. Her involvement with the arts began in 1970-71 when she participated in an experimental print workshop. In 2014, Ishulutaq was named a Member of the Order of Canada “for her progressive artwork and for her contributions to the cultural and economic health of her community as role model and mentor.”
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