Ningeeuga Oshuitoq (1918-1980) was an accomplished graphic artist and printmaker born at Amadjuak Camp on Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island), NU. Anernik (1902-1983), Oshuitoq’s mother and a successful artist in her own right, proved to be a great influence on her daughter’s work. The artist employed the same simple, profile forms in her own drawings. After settling in Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU, in 1960, Oshuitoq fell ill from tuberculosis and was forced to move south for treatment . Upon her return north in 1965, she began drawing full-time, contributing a number of prints to the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection between 1966 and 1980.
Many of Oshuitoq’s drawings include Inuit women, children and spirits, taken from her imagination as well as from her early life living on the land. Imbuing her subjects with intricate design elements, such as interlocking patterns and numerous dots, she enhances the viewer’s interest and entertains their eye. In Arnakota (1979), Oshuitoq brings the story of the sea goddess Sedna to life through bright colours and symmetric patterns, conveying a sense of movement with strong curvilinear forms.
Oshuitoq’s art has travelled in group exhibitions throughout Europe, Canada and the United States, and was notably featured in The Inuit Print/L’estampe inuit, a show organized by the Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa, ON, which toured the world from 1977-1982. Her work may be found in numerous North American collections, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Manitoba, the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, and the Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa, ON.
1. Jean Blodgett and Susan Gustavison, “Ningeeuga Oshuitoq,” Strange Scenes: Early Cape Dorset Drawings (Kleinburg: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1993), 64.