Malaija Pootoogook


Malaija Pootoogook is a printmaker from Iqaluit, NU. Born into a large artistic family Pootoogook gets her influence from her great grandmother, Pitseolak Ashoona [1], Pootoogook's drawings and prints reflect her joyful personality and sense of play. Printmaking with etching and aquatint techniques, Pootoogook's depictions of wildlife glow with vibrant hues of blue, pink and purple tones. Pootoogook's palette reflects 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 contour lines 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 contour line the weight of the bigger bird on the page is reflected in its larger round form, it's 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, looking to Luminous Bird (2015), Pootoogook does away with dark contour lines, exploring form and depth through colour. 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's evolving practice transforms her prints into an imagined landscape, populated by fantastical birds and animals, bathed in a luminous light.

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

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February 6, 2018 Created By: Lera Kotsyuba