PITALOOSIE SAILA, R.C.A. (1942-)
Norman Hallendy Collection, Ottawa
Published: three of these drawings* are illustrated in Norman Hallendy, An Intimate Wilderness: Arctic Voices in a Land of Vast Horizons (Greystone, 2016) pp. 155, 166, 194. All six drawings were commissioned for the book.
Norman Hallendy asked his close friend Pitaloosie to illustrate various themes concerning traditional spirituality and legends. From left to right, top to bottom, these are: 1) a Tuniit (legendary early inhabitants of the Arctic, possibly Dorset Culture); 2)* a transforming shaman drummer; 3) Qavavau, a legendary male- and female-headed creature, transforming into a Viking boat; 4)* the sea goddess Sedna; 5)* a composite of several spirit figures; 6) the Legend of the Man and the Giant.
Some of these fascinating drawings are instantly recognizable as being by Pitaloosie while others are surprises. All in all this is a wonderful series, with some unexpected imagery as well. Pitaloosie richly deserved her solo exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2017.
Reference: for an overview of Pitaloosie’s life and work see Susan Gustavison and Darlene Coward Wight, Pitaloosie Saila: a personal journey (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2017).
First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction www.firstarts.ca