For at least 4000 years, Inuit have bred dogs as an efficient way to travel and haul goods across snow-covered terrain. On Sled Dog Day 2020, we’re taking a moment to honour the furry companions whose efforts made Arctic survival possible.
Agnes Nanogak Goose Puppies (1970) Stonecut Courtesy Inuit Art Foundation
PuppiesAgnes Nanogak Goose
Why do they call it a litter of puppies? Because they mess up the whole house! This nursing momma dog is shown with her own puppies and her human. Agnes Nanogak Goose has enlarged the size of the dog and put the Inuk figure amongst the puppies, suggesting that the panting canine is the one taking care of them all.
Jimmy Arnamissak Family Travelling Around the World by Dog Team (1987) Stone and sinew Collection Art Gallery of Ontario
Family Travelling Around the World by Dog TeamJimmy Arnamissak
I’m pawsitive I don’t want to go any further. If dogs could talk, that’s definitely what the central canine in Jimmy Arnamissak’s carving would say. Placing his team on a curving plane, Arnamissak suggests a journey spanning the globe itself, which would exhaust both human and animal alike. The eye contact between dog and driver reveals the wordless conversation—how much longer can we go on?
Bibi Chemnitz Sled Dog Hoodie (unisex) Cotton and polyester Courtesy the artist
Sled Dog HoodieBibi Chemnitz
Where should a sled dog never go shopping? A flea market! Feel free to bring your dogs to Bibi Chemnitz’s sportswear, though. The sporty silhouettes of her crisp garments have swept them from small town Nuuk in remote Greenland to the cobbled streets of Copenhagen and beyond. Her hoodie shows a modern take on the traditional sled dog, with fur stippled in high-contrast black on a red background.
Pitaloosie Saila Journey by Dog Team (2018) Stonecut 28 x 62 cm Copyright Dorset Fine Arts
Journey by Dog TeamPitaloosie Saila
Whelp, I guess it’s time to get going. With Journey by Dog Team, Pitaloosie Saila shows off the pivotal role dogs have played for centuries in the movement of Arctic peoples, from individual journeys to mass migration across the tundra. By varying the sizes of the dogs, Saila is able to suggest the fan-like shape in which the dogs are harnessed while viewing them only in profile.
Tony Anguhalluq Two Inuit are Going Fishing and Caribou (sic) Hunting (2006) Coloured pencil on paper 10.5 x 13.75 in. Courtesy Marion Scott Gallery
Two Inuit Are Going Fishing and Caribou (sic) HuntingTony Anguhalluq
Just fur the fun of it, Tony Anguhalluq’s dogs have rainbow harnesses that make them pop off an Arctic ice rendered in pastels. Although the piece is named Two Inuit Are Going Fishing and Hunting, the canines are centre-stage, refusing to mush into the background.
Holly Andersen Untitled (2018) Digital Photograph Courtesy the artist
Who’s the best doggone puppy in the whole world? It’s definitely this little black and white one Holly Andersen photographed running across the snow one day in Happy Valley Goose Bay, Nunatsiavut, NL. His little pink paws are dwarfed by the tire tracks beside him, but he just keeps trucking along.