In the Arctic when the permafrost melts, the days become long and the mosquitoes appear in thick, buzzing swarms, ready to ambush anything warm-blooded. This year for World Mosquito Day, we've crawled the art record for 10 works depicting the bloodsucking pests we love to hate.
Ningiukulu Teevee Untitled (n.d.) Graphite, coloured pencil and ink 76.2 x 58.4 cm REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS COURTESY MADRONA GALLERY © THE ARTIST
Straight out of a nightmare, this drawing by Ningiukulu Teevee shows a scourge of gigantic mosquitoes rising from what appears to be cut flesh. Known for her dynamic compositions, Teevee uses fine detail to create playful and often whimsical graphic work.
George Auksaq Mosquito in Flight (n.d.) Steatite, caribou antler, ivory and whalebone 11.4 x 11.4 x 7.6 cm COURTESY SPIRIT WRESTLER GALLERY
Not so itsy-bitsy! Standing almost 12 cm tall, this sculpture by George Auksaq mixes soapstone, caribou antler and ivory to create an oversized yet delightful mosquito. The cute, rounded eyes make for an insect I wouldn't shoo away!
Eliyakota Samuellie Kituriagaluk (Large Mosquito) (1979) Stonecut 59.7 x 91.4 cm REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS © THE ARTIST
Spread your wings! Eliyakota Samuellie pays homage to the mosquito in the decorative style she usually applies to bird forms. Notice how she uses symmetry and repetition of line to create an ornate and alluring composition. It’s so impressive that Samuellie was able to bring beauty to a creature that so many of us fear and avoid.
Janet Kigusiuq Mosquito Season (1994) Coloured pencil and ink COURTESY IAF
Sleep tight, don’t let the…mosquitoes bite? I get itchy just looking at this drawing by Janet Kigusiuq! Inspired by memories from camp life and oral traditions, Kigusiuq creates graphic scenes from her childhood experiences in the Back River region of Nunavut–also known as mosquito country!
Billy Gauthier Mosquito on Hand (n.d.) Anhydrite and moose antler 7.6 x 17.8 x 8.9 cm COURTESY SPIRIT WRESTLER GALLERY
Does this make your skin crawl? Billy Gauthier brings his technical skills to this naturalistic carving of a mosquito resting on a hand. Managing to carve the mosquito almost life-sized is no small feat (if you’ll pardon the pun!), and adds a tactile quality and sense of the ephemeral to this sculpture.
Noah Meeko Composition (1974) Silkscreen 54 x 73.6 cm COURTESY LA FÉDÉRATION DES COOPÉRATIVES DU NOUVEAU-QUÉBEC
Forget the birds and the bees! Dark indigo and magenta come together to showcase a variety of wildlife combinations seemingly caught mid-transformation. Bird-like figures, crawling insects and cheery faces intersect within a single form, the simplicity of this composition complimented by its bold colours.
Pitseolak Ashoona Composition (Birds and Mosquito) (1970) Pentel 45.7 x 61 cm REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS COURTESY FEHELEY FINE ARTS © THE ARTIST
Buzz off! Fantastical yellow birds spit and hiss at an oversized green insect in this drawing by Pitseolak Ashoona, one of many pieces in which she chose to feature insects. Felt tip markers were a preferred medium for Ashoona, whose works are often characterized by her distinctive expressive lines and vibrant colour combinations.
Judas Ullulaq Man Tormented by Insect (Bug in Ear) (1990) Stone and antler 21.6 x 22.9 x 5.1 cm COURTESY WADDINGTON'S AUCTIONEERS AND APPRASIERS, TORONTO
Better run fast! Wide eyes inlaid with ivory, flared nostrils and a trailing tongue help to capture the feeling of distress as the man realizes a mosquito has just entered his ear. Known for his animated and expressive sculptures, Judas Ullulaq adds his sense of humour to a creepy crawly situation.
Cee Pootoogook Mosquitoes (2014) Lithograph 76.2 x 57.2 cm REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS © THE ARTIST
Cee Pootoogook has a way with creating hypnotizing prints using repetition of form. What at first appears to simply be a beautiful textile upon further inspection becomes a chaotic swarm of hungry mosquitoes backdropped by blood-red, the object of their desire. Hope they aren’t too hungry!
Helen Kalvak Cycle of Nature (1986) Lithograph 49.5 x 66 cm COURTESY NORTHERN EXPRESSIONS
Oh my, giant butterflies! Showcasing the interconnectedness of wildlife, Helen Kalvak utilizes a limited colour scheme in this print, which puts insects at the same scale as humans. Kalvak often depicts traditional stories and lessons, reminding us that no matter how small, we all rely upon the same environment and all play an important role.