Celebrated graphic artist, writer, editor and illustrator Alootook Ipellie (1951—2007) has been named as a 2019 inductee into the Giants of the North: Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame. This posthumous accolade comes on the heels of Ipellie’s first touring retrospective Alootook Ipellie: Walking Both Sides of an Invisible Border currently on view at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit, NU until June 15, 2019. Ipellie is the first Inuk to be appointed.
Born in the Qikiqtaaluk Region (Baffin Island), NU in 1951 and later settling in Ottawa, ON, Ipellie was known for his satirical comics centred on Inuit life and the impact of encroaching technology on traditional ways. He was the editor of Inuit Today and contributed comics as well as illustrations to Inuit Monthly and Nunatsiaq News while his serial comics Ice Box (1974-1982) and Nuna and Vut (1994-1997) centred on the flux and flow of Inuit experiences from the 1950s onward, replete with social and political commentary. In 1993 Ipellie published Arctic Dreams and Nightmares, a collection of 20 short stories accompanied by a host of pen-and-ink drawings.
Founded in 2005, the Giants of the North: Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame honours significant, lifelong contributions to the art of cartooning in Canada. Ipellie was selected alongside Toronto-based illustrator Fiona Smyth by the Doug Wrights Awards executive committee with input from Canada’s larger cartooning community. Both inductees were announced on April 23, 2019 and will be formally included in the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame at a ceremony on May 11, 2019 in Toronto, ON.