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 Napatchie Pootoogook  (1938 - 2002)

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Lived/Active: Nunavut / Canada      Known for: Inuit drawing, carving, graphic art

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Napatchie  Pootoogook was born in 1938 at Sako, a small camp on south Baffin Island. She died in December, 2002, of cancer.  Napatchie, also spelled Napachie, was the only daughter of the late Pitseolak Ashoona.

Napatchie began to draw in the late 1950's while living at Keakto, a camp near Cape Dorset. Several people living at the camp, including Napatchie's mother and Kenojuak Ashevak had already begun to draw, encouraged by James Houston. Napachies' early drawing exhibited a free and uninhibited style, still very evident in her contemporary works. She incorporates many aspects of Inuit culture in her work, usually retrieved from her own personal experience.

For all but a few years in the early 1970's, Napatchie had drawn consistently. In the mid-1970's she experimented with mixed media works using coloured pencil and black felt pen in conjunction with acrylic paints.  In 1979 and 1980, solo exhibitions of these works were held at Gallery One, Toronto.  More recently, her work was included in the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s 1994 exhibition entitled Isumavut: The Artistic Expression of Nine Cape Dorset Women.

Napatchies' work in recent years has focused on local history and stories about people and events in the Cape Dorset area, often with accompanying text to explain the circumstances. She thought of herself in her maturing years as an historian and chronicler of local oral history, and she has amassed a unique and important body of work. 

A selection of these contemporary drawings, along with a retrospective of her earlier work was exhibited and catalogued by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in their 1999 exhibition Three Women, Three Generations. This exhibition also featured the work of her mother, Pitseolak Ashoona, and her niece, Suvinai Ashoona.  A solo exhibition of her later autobiographical works opened in May, 2004 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The 2003 Annual Graphics Collection was dedicated to Napatchie Pootoogook, in recognition of her many memorable images and life’s work.


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