Geese and Man, 1964 (1994 #11) stonecut, 20 x 25 in (50.8 x 63.5 cm) 31/40
Geese and Manis one of 46 previously unreleased prints from Cape Dorset that were featured in the 1994 McMichael Canadian Art Collection exhibition Cape Dorset Revisited(no. 11), which was accompanied by Susan Gustavison’s publication, Arctic Expressions: Inuit Art and the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council, 1961-1989 (cat. 21).
Two of the original four Kinngait printmakers, Kananginak Pootoogook and Iyola Kingwatsiak, were asked to decide which never-before-released prints to show and market to the world in 1994. (The prints had been held back from the art market by the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council for various, often seemingly opaque, reasons.) Kananginak’s comment on this quirk of Inuit art history puts things in an interesting, and typically droll, perspective, "Maybe the people that used to pick the prints didn’t have good eyesight. Maybe that’s why there are so many good ones ."
Geese and Man makes an interesting comparison with Parr’s famous stencil print Blue Geese Feeding of 1961. Likely based on a drawing from c. 1962 (Parr’s Period II), Geese and Man nicely exhibits Parr’s apparent disregard— or rather, his own completely original approach to composition. A disproportionately small human figure, along with his minuscule dachshund-like canine companion, is completely overshadowed by the flock of geese. The man is relegated to the role of excited bystander; he almost seems to be signalling us to join him. It’s a highly appealing image.
1. Kananginak Pootoogook quoted in Susan Gustavison,Arctic Expressions: Inuit Art and the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council, 1961-1989 (Kleinburg: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1994) p. 94.