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Janet Kigusiuq

Untitled (People and Animals)


Janet Kigusiuq
Back River area, Nunavut, 1926 – Baker Lake, Nunavut, 2005Active in Baker Lake


Untitled (People and Animals)


About 1972


Coloured pencil, graphite


56.1 x 76.1 cm


Purchase, William Gilman Cheney Bequest, inv. Dr.1975.12


Graphic Arts

The eldest daughter of the renowned artist Jessie Oonark, Janet Kigusiuq is among the second generation of professional artists in Baker Lake. Unlike the work of her sister Victoria Mamnguqsualuk, Kigusiuq’s rarely features legends and stories. Instead, it draws its inspiration from the artist’s experiences as a young woman growing up on the land in the Back River region and at Kitikat, where her family made their summer camp. Kigusiuq distinguished herself from many other Inuit artists of her time by adopting certain techniques of Western spatial perspective, particularly the overlapping of figures to convey the illusion of receding space.

In Untitled (People and Animals), Kigusiuq’s early interest in pattern and colour is clear, and her use of thin lines of colour to highlight the fur trim on parkas lends a rhythmic effect to the composition. A transitional work in Kigusiuq’s oeuvre, it displays both the linear quality of her early style and the textured, almost painterly application of coloured pencil that would come to define her later work. This stylistic shift demonstrates a change in Kigusiuq’s practice, which became more focused on aesthetic expression than on the visual documentation of traditional Inuit life.

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