Feb 01 - Apr 02, 2022 Douglas family art centre

Itee Pootoogook: Hymns to the Silence / ᐊᐃᑏ ᐳᑐᒍᖅ: ᐱᓰᑦ ᓂᖃᑐᓕᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ

Itee Pootoogook (1951 ‑ 2014). Untitled (Man with Hoodie and Sunglasses). 2012. Coloured pencil and graphite on paper. 49.5 × 64.8 cm. Collection of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron. L2018.60.2.

This exhibition of the art of Itee Pootoogook (1951–2014) gathers together more than 50 drawings from the late artist’s body of work and is the first full-scale retrospective of his art. As one of the key members of the third generation of Inuit artists from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Itee contributed to the transformation of the creative traditions inherited from his elders at the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative’s Kinngait Studios. The son of artists Ishuhungitok and Paulassie Pootoogook, cousin of Annie Pootoogook and nephew of Kananginak Pootoogook, he began his artistic practice in the 1970s with an experiment in film animation, later adopting drawing as his medium of choice. By the late 1990s, he was actively involved in his newfound career as a graphic artist at Kinngait Studios.

Coloured pencil and graphite drawing by artist Itee Pootoogook (1951 ‑ 2014) titled "Rear of Canoe" dated 2011.

Itee Pootoogook (1951 ‑ 2014). Rear of Canoe. 2011. Coloured pencil and graphite on black paper. 50.2 × 66 cm. Gift of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. 2018.7.25

ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᑕᑯᑦᓴᐅᑎᑦᓯᓂᐅᔪᖅ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐊᐃᑏ ᐳᑐᒍᖅ (1951–2014) ᑲᑎᖅᓱᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᑦᓱᑎᒃ ᐅᖓᑖᓃᑦᑐᑦ 50 ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᐃᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎᐅᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᔫᑉ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᓯᒪᔭᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᖅᐸᐅᑦᓱᓂᓗ ᕿᒥᕐᕈᓂᖅ ᐊᑕᖏᖅᓱᒋᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᓯᒪᔭᖏᑦ. ᐃᓚᒋᔭᓪᓗᐊᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᐱᖓᔪᒋᔭᐅᔪᓄᑦ ᑭᖑᕚᖑᔪᓄᑦ ᐃᓄᓐᓄᑦ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᖅᑎᓄᑦ ᑭᙵᕐᓂᒃ, ᐊᐃᑏ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᓯᓯᒪᓪᓚᕆᑦᑐᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᓴᓇᑐᓂᒃᑯᑦ ᐱᐅᓯᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐱᓯᒪᔭᖏᑦ ᐃᓄᑐᖃᕐᒥᓂᒃ ᑭᙵᐃᑦ ᑯᐊᐸᒃᑯᖏᓐᓂ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᕐᕕᓐᓂ. ᐃᓂᕆᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᖅᑎᓄᑦ ᐃᓱᖃᙱᑦᑐᖅ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐸᐅᓛᓯ ᐳᑐᒍᖅ, ᐊᓂᑦᓴᕆᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᐊᓂ ᐳᑐᒍᕐᒧᑦ ᖃᖏᐊᕆᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂᓗ ᑲᓈᖏᓐᓈ ᐳᑐᒍᕐᒧᑦ, ᓴᓇᖃᑦᑕᐸᓪᓕᐊᓕᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ 1970−ᖏᓐᓂ ᐆᑦᑐᕋᕈᑎᖃᖅᓱᓂ ᑕᕐᕆᔭᓕᐅᕐᓂᕐᒥᒃ, ᐅᕙᑦᓯᐊᕈᕈᕆᐊᕐᒪᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᕐᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᓂᕈᐊᕐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓕᖅᓱᓂ. 1990 ᓄᙳᖅᐸᓯᖏᓐᓂ, ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎᓪᓚᕆᐅᓕᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᑭᙵᐃᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᕐᕕᖏᓐᓂ. 

Coloured pencil and graphite drawing by artist Itee Pootoogook (1951 ‑ 2014) titled "Four Women Working on the Polar Bear Skin" dated 2011.

Itee Pootoogook (1951 ‑ 2014). Four Women Working on the Polar Bear Skin. 2011. Coloured pencil and graphite on black paper. 56.2 x 76.2 cm. Gift of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. 2018.7.33

Known as a meticulous draftsperson and an inventive landscapist, Itee looked primarily to contemporary Northern life for his subject matter. Although he produced his compositions from a combination of memory and imagination, Itee also based many of his drawings on photographs, an aspect of his artistic process that further highlights his contemporaneity. Featuring a minimum of incident, these understated images celebrate the mundane moments that make up the everyday but also the flashes of unrivalled natural beauty that are the delight of all who live in the North.
Our approach to this exhibition involved close consultation with artists, family, and colleagues of Itee’s in Kinngait, as well as artists and curators in the South who support his work, generating new insights that deepen our understanding of contemporary art from Canada’s Arctic region. In several instances, we have included the words of our catalogue contributors in the labels for the exhibition, in order to share that plurality of perspectives.

Itee Pootoogook (1951 ‑ 2014). Long After Midnight. 2010. Graphite and coloured pencil on black paper. 61 × 81.3 cm. Collection of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron. L2018.60.1.

ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᑎᑎᖅᑑᔭᖅᑎᒻᒪᕆᐅᒋᐊᖓ ᐃᓱᒪᑐᓂᒃᑯᓪᓗ ᓄᓇᒥᒃ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎᐅᑦᓱᓂ, ᐊᐃᑏ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᕐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐅᓪᓗᒥᓯᐅᑕᐅᓂᖅᓴᓂᒃ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᒥ. ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖃᑦᑕᖅᓯᒪᒐᓗᐊᖅᓱᓂ ᐊᐅᓚᔨᔭᒥᓂᒃ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑯᑦ ᑕᐅᑐᙳᐊᖅᑕᒥᓂᓪᓘᓐᓃᑦ, ᐊᐃᑏᑦᑕᐅᖅ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖃᑦᑕᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐊᑐᖅᓱᓂ ᐊᔾᔨᓂᒃ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᐃᓗᒐᕐᓂᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᐅᓚᓂᕆᓯᒪᒻᒥᔭᖓ ᐊᓚᒡᒐᐃᒍᑕᐅᒃᑲᓐᓂᖅᓱᓂ ᐅᓪᓗᒥᓯᐅᑎᓄᑦ.  ᐃᓗᓕᖅᑐᔪᒻᒪᕆᐊᓘᒐᑎᒃ, ᑖᒃᑯᐊ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᐃᑦ ᑕᑯᑦᓴᐅᑎᑦᓯᔪᑦ ᖃᖓᑐᐃᓐᓇᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᑑᑎᓲᓂᒃ ᖃᐅᑕᒫᑦ ᑭᓯᐊᓂᑦᑕᐅᖅ ᑕᑯᑦᓴᐅᑎᑦᓯᒻᒥᔪ ᐱᐅᔪᒻᒪᕆᐊᓗᓐᓂᒃ ᑲᔾᔮᓇᕇᖅᑐᓂᒃ ᖁᕕᐊᒋᔭᐅᔪᒻᒪᕆᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᓐᓄᑦ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᒥᐅᓄᑦ.

ᐊᐅᓚᓂᕆᓯᒪᔭᕗᑦ ᑕᕝᕙᓂ ᐊᐅᓚᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐱᖃᓯᐅᔾᔨᑎᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐅᖃᖃᑎᖃᑦᓯᐊᕐᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎᓂᒃ, ᓇᒻᒥᓂᕆᔭᖏᓐᓂᒃ, ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎᐅᖃᑎᒋᓯᒪᔭᖏᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᐊᐃᑏᑉ ᑭᙵᕐᓂ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑏᑦ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᓕᕆᔩᓪᓗ ᖃᓪᓗᓈᓂ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᑐᖅᑐᑦ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᖏᓐᓂᒃ, ᐊᐅᓚᔾᔭᒋᐊᕈᑕᐅᑦᓱᓂ ᓄᑖᓄᑦ ᑕᑯᓐᓈᕐᓂᐅᔪᓄᑦ ᐃᑎᔪᒥᒃ ᑐᑭᓯᒃᑲᓐᓂᕈᑎᒋᑦᓱᑎᒍ ᐅᓪᓗᒥᓯᐅᑎᓂᒃ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᕐᓂᒃ ᑲᓇᑕᐅᑉ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᖓᓂᒃ.  ᐊᒥᓱᒐᓚᓐᓂ, ᐃᓚᒍᑦᓯᐅᔾᔨᓯᒪᔪᒍᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᓯᔨᒋᑦᓯᒪᔭᑦᑕ ᓇᓗᓇᐃᒃᑯᓯᖅᑐᖅᑕᐅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᑕᑯᑦᓴᐅᑎᑦᓯᓂᕐᒧᑦ, ᑕᑯᔭᐅᒍᓐᓇᖁᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐊᑕᐅᓯᐅᖏᑦᑐᒧᑦ ᐃᓱᒻᒪᓯᐅᔪᑦ.

Itee Pootoogook (1951 ‑ 2014). Valley. 2011. Coloured pencil and graphite on black paper. 50.2 x 65 cm. Gift of Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron. McMichael Canadian Art Collection. 2018.7.28

This exhibition was prompted by the generous donation to the McMichael of 48 works by Itee from the noted Inuit art collectors Jamie Cameron and Christopher Bredt.
ᑖᓐᓇ ᑕᑯᑦᓴᐅᑎᑦᓯᓂᖅ ᐱᒋᐊᖅᑎᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᐊᐃᑦᑐᐃᙳᐊᑕᖅᓯᓂᖏᑦᑎᒍᑦ ᒪᒃᒪᐃᑯᒧᑦ 48−ᓂᒃ ᐊᐃᑏ ᓴᓴᐅᒐᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᓇᓗᓇᐃᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓴᓇᐅᒐᖏᓐᓂᒃ ᓄᐊᑦᓯᔨᓄᑦ ᔭᐃᒥ ᑳᒧᕋᓐ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑯᕆᔅᑕᕗ ᕗᕋᑦ.

This exhibition was organized and circulated by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and guest curated by Dr. Nancy Campbell.


ᐋᖅᑭᓱᖅᑕᐅᔪ ᒪᒃᒪᐃᑯᒧᑦ ᐃᓕᓯᒪᔪᕐᔪᐊᕐᒧᑦ ᓈᓐᓯ ᑳᒻᕗᓪ


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.


Book cover for "Itee Pootoogook: Hymns to the Silence." Features drawing on the cover by the artist of a man in a grey hoodie (hood-up) with a blue cap sticking out and sunglasses on the back of his head.

Itee Pootoogook: Hymns to the Silence

Winner, 2021 Melva J. Dwyer Award

Featuring more than 100 images and essays by curators, art historians, and contemporary artists, Itee Pootoogook: Hymns to the Silence celebrates the creative spirit of an innovative artist. It is the first publication devoted exclusively to his art.


Available from the Douglas Family Art Centre boutique for $45 +HST.

As always, MUSE members save 10%.

Did you know?

In 1916 Kenora produced the most flour of any city in Canada. Between the Lake of the Woods Milling Company in Keewatin and the Maple Leaf Milling in Kenora they produced 13,000 barrels of flour a day

WP-Backgrounds by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann