Biography of Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook balances the good with the controversy, says author

Nancy Campbell researched contemporary Inuit drawing during her PhD with a focus on Annie Pootoogook and Pootoogook’s cousin, Shuvinai Ashoona. Companion to exhibition
Annie Pootoogook: Cutting Ice will be released Feb. Pootoogook “cracked the glass ceiling” for Inuit art in 2006 when she won the prestigious Sobey Art Award, but the win was not without controversy. It finally came to fruition in 2006. Pootoogook visited Toronto for the first time for the show. She says without the 15 years she spent working on the material, she would not have been ready with the book so quickly. She had broken with artistic practices associated with that community’s Kinngait Studios, opting to depict contemporary scenes of Northern life. “After she died, I was so sad, as many were, and I didn’t know what to do with it all,” she said. 
“I didn’t really speak to any press. Contribution to contemporary art
It also contains a critical essay which explores how Pootoogook influenced Inuit artists to break with traditional or commercial work and find recognition from contemporary art critics. She focused on contemporary Inuit drawings, and on Pootoogook and her cousin, artist Shuvinai Ashoona. “At that time, she was in her 30s, she was making work that was a little bit different than what we have come to understand as what Inuit art should look like,” said Campbell. Phil”. A year later, Campbell proposed a solo show at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, where she was curator. Curators at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection approached Campbell with the idea of an exhibition and companion book shortly after Pootoogook’s death. 

Annie Pootoogook suspicious death investigation expected to be inconclusive
Annie Pootoogook’s brother fears he’ll never know the cause of her death

Campbell has a PhD in art history. Stereotypes plagued Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook in life as in death, says gallerist

“I remember being at the reception afterwards, and one of the artists, who will not be named, wouldn’t even shake Annie’s hand,” said Campbell. “Who’s to blame for her death and her struggles and when I talked to the community, when I was visiting as part of research for this book, they said, ‘Make sure you make it clear about all the good things in Annie’s life.'”

One of the better known works by Annie Pootoogook, “Dr. They detailed her love of hunting, fishing and community life. “There’s been so much speculation about her death and her life,” she said. It was so complex, the story, with so many highs and so many lows.”
But when the McMichael approached her, she said she came to see the project as a way to present a balanced picture of her life. “That was more than 10 years ago, and how the conversation has changed.”
Another essay in the book, co-authored by the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op, explains how artists make a living in the North and the how the Co-op has supported them for decades. (Marivic Turner)

Pootoogook was from Cape Dorset, Nunavut. Campbell continued to work with Pootoogook and to follow her career over the next 10 years, and now a year and a half after Pootoogook’s death, she has put together a biography of the Inuk artist. The book contains 62 full-colour drawings, stretching from Pootoogook’s earliest works to the last drawing she sold (excluding those she sold while living on the street in Ottawa), which is now in the National Gallery of Canada. Campbell says she took the advice of the elders in Cape Dorset and included interviews in the book with Pootoogook’s siblings and people in the community who knew her. Goose Lane Editions published the book for the McMichael and it will be available at the gallery and through Indigo, according to Campbell. However, she says she’s glad she didn’t dive into it right after Pootoogook’s death. 20, a week after her retrospective exhibition of the same name closes at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, northwest of Toronto. Nancy Campbell first encountered Annie Pootoogook’s drawings at a small exhibition of Pootoogook’s work at Toronto’s Feheley Fine Arts gallery in 2003.