Hunting and fishing sit close to the heart of Inuit culture, rich subsistence traditions that have provided the food, clothing and shelter necessary for survival since time immemorial. From seal and narwhal to caribou and char, Inuit Nunangat provides a rich bounty of wildlife that nourishes our connection to the land and sea.
Agnes Nanogak Goose Old Man Fishing (1989) Stencil 45 x 55.5 cm COURTESY NORTHERN IMAGES
Fishing never gets old! Rendered with soft gradients of blues and browns, an elder sits by his fishing hole. His eyes peer down, focused on the aglu (seal’s breathing hole), with a sense of patience every hunter knows. This print by Agnes Nanogak Goose evokes the slow and meditative quality of casting your line into the water and waiting.
Martha Tickiq Hunt Across the River (n.d.) Duffel, felt and embroidery floss 66.7 x 71.1 cm COURTESY FEHELEY FINE ARTS
Stitching together the technicolour memory of a summer hunt, Martha Tickiq shows us what might be a perfect day. A smiling family is pulled across the river by their loyal dog team. Their arms are raised, excited for the adventure ahead, which includes berry picking and preparing skins—the sign of a successful hunt—under a neon pink sky. The bold colours Tickiq chose exemplify the joy of being out on the land with those you love.
Nicotye Samayualie Untitled (Fishing Lures) (2013) Coloured pencil and ink 95.3 x 63.5 cm COURTESY MARION SCOTT GALLERY REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION DORSET FINE ARTS
Lure me in! Nicotye Samayualie brings our focus to the beauty of fishing lures, taken out of a kit and arranged across the paper. With their bright, shiny colours and bold patterns of spots and stripes, they catch fish and art lovers alike.
Billy Gauthier Whale Hunter (n.d.) Serpentinite, anhydrite, cherry wood and twine 7.6 x 12.7 x 15.2 cm COURTESY SPIRIT WRESTLER GALLERY
Whale, whale, whale—what do we have here? Billy Gauthier, known for his exceptionally detailed mixed-media sculptures, shows a hunter in his qayaq in pursuit of a bright white beluga. Smooth green serpentinite forms the undulating waves of the ocean, making for a thrilling and dynamic scene.
Tony Anguhalluq Three inuit are Fishing And catching char and Lake crout (2006) Coloured pencil 26.6 x 34.9 cm COURTESY MARION SCOTT GALLERY
The title of this work states “three Inuit are fishing,” and yet I see only two, outfitted in bright snow gear, each with one fish to their name. I wonder where the third Inuk is—perhaps somewhere in the vast purple landscape? I like to imagine that I am the third Inuk, fishing for char and lake trout alongside my two friends.
Kananginak Pootoogook Silent Hunter (2002) Stonecut 50.8 x 40.6 cm COPYRIGHT DORSET FINE ARTS
Snagged one! In this monochromatic print by Kananginak Pootogook, a hunter and his dog walk in silence after a successful quest for food. Carrying at least 100 pounds of tuktu (caribou) on his back, you can sense the satisfaction on the hunter’s face, bringing back a harvest that will provide many meals and warm clothing.
Josie Napartuk Hunter at Seal Hole (n.d.) Stone, bone and skin COURTESY IAF
Get trout of here! This colossal figure opens his mouth in joy and disbelief as something finally tugs at his jig. This hunter has been waiting at this hole for some time, his immense body nearly becoming one with the ice below.
Mary Ayaq Anowtalik Composition (Loon Hunting) (2008) Coloured pencil 30.5 x 45.7 cm COURTESY FEHELEY FINE ARTS
Nice catch! Outlined by a sea of textured pencil crayon, two Inuit hold either side of a net, about to ensnare an oversized and rather menacing serpent-like loon. The energetic mark-making of Mary Ayaq Anowtalik adds energy to the lively hunting scene.
Simon Tookoome Fighting Over a Fish (1985) Stonecut and stencil 47 x 64 cm COURTESY IAF
What’s mine is yours, and yours is mine? Simon Tookoome’s graphic work often features symmetry and the repetition of figures in profile. Typically, these figures give us a glimpse into shamanic practices and Inuit mythology. Here we see a playful portrayal of two hunters fighting over a fish! Perhaps Tookoome is trying to stress the importance of sharing the harvest.