• Feature

Inuit Print Gives a Glimpse into Shaman’s Performance

Inside Out: Artwork that Displays Inuit Life Indoors

Aug 06, 2021
by Napatsi Folger

Inuit art is famous for representing the land and creatures of the outside world, on which Inuit are so dependent for survival. This Portfolio, however, features art that provides a glimpse into the intimate scenes of what happens inside.

In this issue, we explore the creativity in the everyday lives of Inuit and how beautiful and extraordinary these five chosen artists render ordinary tasks such as tending fires and playing string games.

The broad selection of content choices exemplifies the versatility of subject matter Inuit artists draw from when they consider what “home” means to them. Personally, home has always been defined by the individuals surrounding me rather than the structures themselves. People are also important to the artists of these five pieces. The structures may change, but the people remain.


Luke Anguhadluq
Shaman Entering the Drum Dance (detail) (1977) Printmaker William Ukpatiku Silkscreen 76 x 56 cm

Luke Anguhadluq piques our imaginations with this bright and colourful print of a shaman in the antechamber of a qaggiq, about to enter the drum dance. We are further drawn into this scene by the expectant looks of the audience and drum dancers, as though we are an unexpected guest who has suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

I can’t help but think of a diagram of the human brain when I look at this mesmerizing image. The shaman could be falling through the brain stem, mid-trance, about to embark on an extra-cerebral journey.

Whatever his intentions, Anguhadluq captivates his audience with this stark image. The facial markings—tunniit for the women in the top half and facial hair for the men performing—stand out in black against their brightly painted parkas and the sunny qaggiq structure.


This Feature was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.
To see the rest of the Portfolio, pick up the Interiors issue of the IAQ!

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