signed in syllabics, c. 1970
48 x 60 in — 121.9 x 152.4 cm
May 29, 2018
During her lifetime, Oonark was much revered as a textile artist.
Building on her well-honed skills as a seamstress, this talent would inform her image-making in all media.
While sewing garments, Oonark would often create decorative embellishments by cutting away material and creating snugly fitted inserts of contrasting skin—a precise and exacting craft that she translated with apparent effortlessness to her brightly coloured wall hangings.
Artist Jack Butler watched Oonark’s art closely over the course of his many years as an art advisor to the Sanavik Co-op (Butler lived in Qamani’tuaq off and on from 1969 to 1976). He remembers his first view of Oonark’s drawings. “They had a striking graphic authority,” he recalls, “like she was absolutely certain of everything she was doing. Her image making comes, I think, from that very fundamental practice of inlaying—of setting one piece of fabric or skin decisively inside another. So even before she started drawing, she was a master of what we in our world would call figure-ground relations. The more mature she became, the more tension there was between the two.”
Inuit Art Quarterly
Inuit, First Nations & Métis Art
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