Itee Pootoogook



Itee Pootoogook was a renowned Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU based artist known for his detailed and sensitive renderings of his community and its inhabitants as well as the natural and fabricated environment that encompasses it. Born in Kimmirut, NU Pootoogook’s family moved to Kinngait during his childhood where he remained living and working. He began his artistic career in the 1970s with sculpture and photography despite photography not being a readily accepted medium as part of the Kinngait art legacy. From 2000 to 2002 Pootoogook attended the Nunavut Arctic College for printmaking and drawing to hone his craft and grow his practice.

Pootoogook used source photographs by Inuit artists as well as members of the community as the base for his drawings. His work has a documentary quality that is a result of drawing from photographs. In 1973 his photographs were included in the National Film Board production “Animation from Cape Dorset.
Looking South (2008) was Pootoogook’s first work to be part of the Cape Dorset Print Collection. It is a close-up image of a pair of kamiks positioned just off centre as one might see in a photograph. While Pootoogook’s prints are detailed and interesting, his drawings reveal an ability to distil a moment and disrupt the viewer’s expectations of a document.

Pootoogook was the subject of many solo exhibitions and was a part of multiple group shows across Canada and the United States. His works are in the public collection of both the National Art Gallery, Ottawa, ON and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON. Pootoogook has been written about by various publications including the Inuit Art Quarterly and had his piece "Waiting for Penny Sale" (2009) featured on the cover of the Fall 2010 issue of Inuit Art Quarterly.