Inuit Artist Residency
In May of 2016, Open Studio hosted Tim Pitsiulak (Kinngait/Cape Dorset, Nunavut) for the first Inuit Artist Creative Residency. Tim’s artwork and generous spirit had a huge impact on the Open Studio community. Many friendships were forged during his time working in the studio, and we were all devastated to learn of his untimely passing in December of 2016. Tim’s sense of humour and gentle joking meant that the studio was filled with laughter as he worked tirelessly during his residency. Tim arrived early every day, spending all day working on the drawings used to create the large screenprints completed during the residency. Even after he returned home to Cape Dorset, he would often call the office just to say hello and see how everyone was doing. When his residency was done, he generously donated the print Sounding Whale, with the specific request that it be used to raise funds for the organization.
Tim Pitsiulak (1967 – 2016) was an Inuk artist and hunter known primarily for his large-scale drawings and majestic prints, and is recognized throughout the art world for his unique and important contributions to Inuit art. The land and its wildlife were initially the primary influences; he later became a chronicler of the everyday, drawing large format, meticulously detailed depictions of boats, heavy equipment and airplanes—the machinery of modern life in Cape Dorset. Tim was a serious hunter and his respect for the natural world and its wildlife was fundamental to his artistic sensibility. Tim was particularly inspired by the whales that frequent the cold Arctic waters—the beluga and the bowhead. His drawings of whales were often embellished with tattoos of ancient artifacts hearkening back to the sacred roots of the hunt. Tim’s work has been exhibited in several venues in Canada and overseas. He also worked on a number of major commissions including a coin design for the Royal Canadian Mint and a large scale drawing for the foyer of the Toronto Dominion Bank in downtown Toronto.