Itee Pootoogook

Itee Pootoogook
1951 - 2014
Cape Dorset

A resident of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Itee Pootoogook belongs to a new generation of Inuit artists who are transforming and reshaping the creative traditions that were successfully pioneered by their parents and grandparents in the second half of the 20th century. Born in 1951 in Kimmirut (formerly Lake Harbour) on southern Baffin Island, he moved to Cape Dorset when he was still a child. The son of artists Ishuhungitok and Paulassie Pootoogook, Itee made his first drawings in the mid-1980s, receiving encouragement from the managers of the community’s renowned printmaking studio. This early period of exploration with the drawing medium was interrupted following a temporary move to Pond Inlet in the late 1980s. Pootoogook resumed his interest in drawing when he returned to Dorset in the late 1990s, and in the spring of 2008 one of his images was included in a special print folio devoted to the community’s rising new generation of artists.

A meticulous draughtsman, Pootoogook looks primarily to contemporary northern life for his subject matter. He is especially interested in modern local architectural forms, producing works in graphite and coloured pencil that depict various contemporary buildings in Cape Dorset. Pootoogook’s portraits of acquaintances and family members similarly bear witness to the North of today. Whether they are captured at work or rest, Pootoogook’s subjects are shown engaged in a range of modern activities including stone carving and watching television indoors. Featuring a minimum of incident, these understated images celebrate the mundane moments that make up the everyday. Pootoogook is also an inventive landscapist. Many of his finest Arctic landscapes make use of extended formats, giving emphasis to the open horizon that separates land from sky. Although some compositions are produced from a combination of memory and imagination, Pootoogook bases many of his drawings on photographs, an aspect of his artistic process that further highlights his contemporaneity.
Please contact the gallery for more information.