Printmaker: THOMAS SUVAARAQ (1935-1991) QAMANI'TUAQ (BAKER LAKE)
Hundreds and Hundreds, Herds of Caribou, 1975 #1
stonecut, 25 x 37 in (63.5 x 94 cm).
Estimate: $3,500— $5,000
Private Collection, Australia.
Ruth Qaulluaryuk's fellow Baker Lake artist Simon Tookoome describes in words the kind of scene evoked so beautifully in this print:
The caribou used to gather in a very large herd to migrate. You could hear them for two days, walking over the frozen tundra. We would sit where they would pass and wait for them. It would take three to five days and nights for the herd to pass our camp. The land would be all torn up. They were not afraid in such big numbers .
Hundreds and Hundreds, Herds of Caribou is featured on the cover of the 1975 Baker Lake print collection. Qaulluaryuk's tessellated pattern of caribou moving back and forth is Escher-like in its almost dizzying intricacy. Her remarkable drawing was translated into one of the most complex stonecuts ever created in the Baker Lake print shop. In the 1975 catalogue Hundreds and Hundreds, Herds of Caribou is illustrated opposite two photos of printmaker Thomas Suvaaraq carefully using a piece of antler as a baren to press the ink onto the paper. The only compromise that Thomas Suvaaraq had to make was to print some of the caribous' antler in solid black instead of outline. Wow.
1. Simon Tookoome with Sheldon Oberman, The Shaman's Nephew: A Life in the Far North (Toronto: Stoddart, 1999) p. 28.
References: This print, along with Qaulluaryuk's original graphite pencil drawing, is illustrated in the Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibition catalogue Baker Lake Prints and Print Drawings 1970-76 (WAG, 1983), p. 79.