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a drawing on on a dark green background of a woman swimming underwater dressed in blue, holding a string that extends down towards three whale tails that are visible at the bottom of the image, swimming downwards.

ᑕᐅᑐᑉᐹ Tautuppaa | Long Looking
Tim Pitsiulak

Dates January 18.2024

It is the exceptional level of detail that immediately captures one’s attention in Tim Pitsiulak’s artwork, and this deliberate attention to detail was a fundamental aspect of his artistic philosophy. As he put it, “That’s the best thing about being an artist and a hunter. What more can I ask for than that people are noticing what we have up here?” His artistic and hunting pursuits were intricately intertwined, both stemming from his practice of “long looking,” reflected in the precise balance of detail and distance in his work. He believed in the significance of prolonged observation and reflection, which allowed him to capture intricate details and the essence of his subjects in meticulous representations of the northern landscape, wildlife, and way of life. Through this patient and thoughtful approach, he brought a profound sense of connection and depth to his practice.

For Pitsiulak, art and hunting represented parallel ways of perceiving and comprehending the world around him, encompassing the vast expanse of the land and its diverse ecosystems, including its wildlife, fish, trees, and water, while encapsulating both traditional and modern aspects of life in northern regions. Born in Kimmirut and later residing in Kinngait, he balanced his time between Kinngait Studios and the wilderness. His artwork was deeply rooted in his intimate knowledge of his homeland, expressed in a wide range of subjects that blend details drawn from traditional stories and the natural world with elements of contemporary technologies—often executed in vibrant coloured pencil, ink, and chalk pastel on large black paper sheets.

Throughout, his artistic practice brings into sharp relief the ever-evolving impacts of colonization in the North, particularly the effects of climate change and environmental exploitation. While Indigenous communities globally have faced heightened risk due to their close relationships and interdependence with wider ecosystems, the Inuit, in particular, are uniquely vulnerable due to the increasing precarity of northern environments as climate stability gives way to the planet-scale impact of human actions associated with the Anthropocene. Tim Pitsiulak’s work serves as a critical entry point into understanding not just life in the Arctic but also the profound and deep-rooted connections between individuals and their surroundings in an environment defined by its extreme climatic conditions.

This exhibition draws from two private collections, as well as that of the Art Gallery of Guelph, providing a comprehensive view of Pitsiulak’s distinctive artistic practice and imagination. His work is complemented by pieces from other Inuit artists who similarly focus on the intersection of lived and natural worlds.

Curated by Taqralik Partridge and organized by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the generous support of lenders and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Image detail: Tim Pitsiulak, ᓗᒫᔫᖅ (Lumaajuuq), 2015, coloured pencil on paper. Private Collection


AGG’s interactive tours are presented with the support of the 2020 City of Guelph Emergency Fund.

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