JESSIE OONARK, O.C., R.C.A. (1906-1985), ᔭᓯ ᐅᓇ, Baker Lake / Qamani’tuaq
coloured pencil drawing
signed in syllabics, c. 1970
15 x 11 in — 38.1 x 27.9 cm
Wonderfully prolific and graphically gifted, Jessie Oonark was a bold and yet thoughtful image maker. Her use of colour, whether intense or subtle, gave life to even the most ordinary of subjects. Compared to her later more abstract drawings, Welcoming Friends tells a story of day to day life. Oonark spent most of her time in camps in the Back River region where she took part in a traditional Inuit way of life. This work is an illustration of receiving visitors at her igloo; a gathering of women, perhaps showing their daughters who are in toe, how to prepare the skins for eventual sewing. There is a cheerful community feel to the image. For more information about Oonark’s drawings see, Sarah Milroy, Flashback: Jessie Oonark, Inuit Art Quarterly, Fall 2017, pages 82-95.
Private Collection, Vancouver