Annie Pootoogook was the daughter of the late Eegyvudluk Pootoogook and Napachie Pootoogook, both artists themselves. She came from a great artistic background, which included her uncles Qaqaq and Kiugak Ashoona, as well as Kananginak Pootoogook. Annie revered her famous grandmother Pitseolak Ashoona; as a young girl she remembered Pitseolak bringing her drawings to the print shop.
Born in 1969, Annie grew up in Kinngait (Cape Dorset). When she was old enough, she used to go camping with her parents. She always had a great interest in drawing. At the Co-op, we provided her with paper and coloured pencil, and her early work was really promising. Many of her drawings recalled her childhood memories of camping; she often drew images of the inside of the tent, and her drawings of Coleman stoves were just great.
After a few years, Annie moved on to very different subject matter, which reflected the many changes in the lifestyle of the North. She travelled to Scotland for an artist residency and she said being away for two months was something to remember! Some of her drawings show her time in Scotland.
Annie Pootoogook,Cape Dorset Freezer, 2005, coloured pencil, black metallic ballpoint pen and graphite on wove paper, 111.5 x 233.1 cm NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA © DORSET FINE ARTS
Annie was not afraid or shy when she started to draw disturbing scenes. She drew about life around her and these subjects were simply part of that. She thought about these problems, such as alcohol and drugs, and once said to me that there needed to be more help from the Nunavut government, such as treatment centres.
She had her own hard times but she was a great artist and a very good lady. Her family and friends and all of Cape Dorset will miss her.
Annie Pootoogook, Pitseolak Drawing with Two Girls on the Bed, 2006, coloured pencil on paper, 50.8 x 66 cm COURTESY FEHELEY FINE ARTS © DORSET FINE ARTS
This is a tribute from the Winter 2016 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.