Malaija Pootoogook


Malaija Pootoogook was a printmaker from Iqaluit, NU. Born into a large artistic family, Pootoogook got her influence from her great grandmother, Pitseolak Ashoona [1]. Pootoogook's drawings and prints reflected her joyful personality and sense of play.  Her depictions of wildlife glow with vibrant hues of blue, pink and purple tones, printed with etching and aquatint techniques. Pootoogook's palette reflected the play of light in the Arctic rather than a naturalistic depiction, her prints radiating vibrant colour, typically on a white ground.

Pootoogook's early work relied more heavily on outlines to depict animals and birds, as well as minimal etching for textures such as feathers. Protective Owl (2011) shows a large bird standing beside a notably smaller one. Etched with a clear outline, the weight of the bigger bird on the page is reflected in its larger round form, its plumage rendered in small dots with browns, blues and reds blending together at the edges to give a sense of a three dimensional body. The smaller bird is similarly etched. The white ground serves as a neutral space for the birds to inhabit, their presence at once settled, and also interpreted though an imagined landscape. In her later work Luminous Bird (2015), Pootoogook does away with dark outlines, exploring form and depth through colour instead. The bird is a vibrant pulse of colour of yellows, pinks and blues, ready to fly off the page. The focal point here is the singular eye looking outwards, joining the viewer in looking beyond the page, ready to take flight.

Pootoogook transformed her images into an imagined landscape, populated by fantastical birds and animals and bathed in luminous light.

Artist Work

About Malaija Pootoogook


Graphic Arts

Artistic Community:

Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.

Iqaluit, NU

Date of Death:

Artists may have multiple dates of death listed as a result of when and where they passed away. Similar to date of birth, an artist may have passed away outside of a community centre or in another community resulting in different dates being recorded.


Edit History

February 6, 2018 Created By: Lera Kotsyuba