Omalluq: Stories from my Life

Jun 21 - Mar 31

  • Admission: General Admission ($0-18, Indigenous Peoples and youth under 18 years are free)

Omalluq: Pictures from my Life is a collection of works by Omalluq Oshutsiaq (1948-2014), who was one of the few female artists from Kinngait who gained international recognition for their carvings.

One of her larger carvings of a woman sewing a kamik (skin boot) is in the WAG-Qaumajuq collection and included in this exhibition. However, in the mid-1990s, an accident with an electric grinder put an end to her carving career. She did not begin to create drawings until 2013, with the encouragement of Kinngait Studio Director at the time, Bill Ritchie.

Her first two drawings in 2013 were of her daughter, Mary, and of her injured hand, which she titled “Broken Hands, Personal Experience.” Sadly, both Omalluq and Mary lost their battles with cancer in November 2014. In the two years before her death, Omalluq created the 19 drawings in this exhibition that were purchased by the Gallery in 2014.

Several drawings are detailed narratives showing the realities of community life. Three drawings are her interpretations of the well-known south Baffin story of the female shaman, Aliguq, shown with her seaweed helping spirits. Another work is a poignant tribute to her husband, Simionie, who died in 2012. Omalluq has shown herself as a weeping presence above his grave that is marked with “SIM” and his dates, 1943–2012.

This is the most significant collection of Omalluq’s late drawings. They reveal the artist’s considerable drawing skills and the breadth of her thematic interests in a medium she only discovered in the last two years of her life.