Mark Emerak is one of the great elder memory artists of Inuit art. Born near Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island in 1901, he moved to the Minto Bay region just north of present-day Ulukhaktok (previously Holman), where he took up residence after the death of his wife in the 1950s. Even so, he continued to spend long periods of time hunting and fishing on the land until his death in 1983. Emerak was introduced to drawing in 1966. His estimated nine hundred graphite drawings focus primarily on traditional Copper Inuit hunting, camp life and communal activities.
Like some other first-generation Inuit graphic artists, Emerak invented his own system of perspective. One of his favoured compositional techniques was to arrange figures in a circular pattern. In this print based on one of Emerak’s line drawings, the inner circle shows hunters seated and standing around a platform, prepared to enjoy a feast of caribou meat, their knives at the ready. The scene is presented in a bird’s-eye view, but the figures are portrayed from more or less frontal viewpoints. The figures on the outer circle are shown in profile. It is fairly clear that Emerak must have turned the paper as he drew the various figures. It is a fascinating and slightly dizzying mix of perspectives!