Tivi Etok is a printmaker and graphic artist. Born in Qirnituartuq, Nunavik, QC, Etok’s family was relocated to the nearby Kangiqsulujjuaq, QC, in 1959 (1), where he still lives and works today as an Elder in his community.
Etok began drawing at a young age, using sticks on stretches of sand wherever he happened to be (2). In 1972, the George River Cooperative chose him to attend a three-week workshop in Puvirnituq (Povungnituk), where he learned printmaking techniques for the first time (3). Upon his return to Kangiqsulujjuaq, Etok established a printshop out of one of the Co-op’s buildings and began making stonecuts with the help of his son-in-law, Peter Morgan, importing stone from the south for matrixes (4).
Etok’s works are shaped by a fight for survival. Personal brushes with illness and starvation as well as supernatural monsters from nearby spiritual fonts like the Tuurngait (Torngat) Mountains and the Navvaaq Fjord are some of the subjects of his compelling prints(5). In Another Story About Ekeagualuk, Etok revisits the legend of a father and his sons who have come to fight a sea monster. The spear, mid-plunge into the breast of the sprawled Ekeagualuk, shows the action of the hunt, while the expression of pain on the spirit’s face and of concentration on the man emotes in characteristic Etok fashion. Etok’s determination to keep old stories and ways of life alive for future generations means that many of his prints feature extended text illuminating the cultural history of what he has depicted. His private print chop displays his own history, the ulu of his mother under the bird darts he fashioned as a child (6).
Etok is well known as the first Inuk printmaker to have a solo print collection released. This first collection, Whispering in my ears and mingling with my dreams, travelled nationally and internationally and made Etok the focus of solo shows in Montreal and Boston during its first year in print. In addition to enjoying countless exhibitions and solo shows, Etok has been the subject of extensive scholarship. A trilingual biography, The World of Tivi Etok, was published in 2008. Etok’s artworks are held in major public collections across North America, such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Canadian Museum of History.
●1972 – Chosen to attend the first printmaking workshop in Povungnituk, April-May.
●1975 – First solo print collection released; the first solo collection by an Inuk artist.
●1976 – Traveled south to attend exhibition openings in Waterloo and Montreal.
●1976 – Second solo print collection released.
●2008 – A full length trilingual biography of his life and work, The World of Tivi Etok by Jobie Weetaluktuk, is published.