Printmaker: LUKTA QIATSUK (1928- 2004) m. KINNGAIT (CAPE DORSET)
Pot Spirits, 1960 #55
stencil, 12.5 x 19 in (31.8 x 48.3 cm)
Estimate: $6,000 — $9,000
Private Collection, Australia.
Inuit traditionally believed that not only humans and animals, but also places and even rocks and plants could be imbued with spirits. Jean Blodgett specifically mentions lamps (qulliq oil lamps) as objects that might potentially house a spirit . So why not pots and kettles? Pot Spirits showcases a lively parade of anthropomorphic cooking pots dancing across the page. The jaunty poses of the figures display a rhythm that underscores the bustling trajectory of the characters. The image exudes a sense of merriment and animation - quite literally. Hilariously, the pots look like characters come to life and marching along in a Disney animated film - we are reminded of the magical, whimsical scenes of dancing brooms in Fantasia and dishes in Beauty and the Beast.
Sheouak passed away in 1961 at the age of 43. In spite of her all too brief career, this artist left an indelible mark on printmaking in Kinngait. Ten images by Sheouak were selected by James Houston for inclusion in the 1960 and 1961 print collections, suggesting that Houston recognized her as a remarkable talent. The delightful Pot Spirits is her most famous and best-loved print, but we would like to mention a 1962 image, the charming Shore Birds on Rocks, which has a very similar composition.
1. Jean Blodgett, The Coming and Going of the Shaman: Eskimo Shamanism and Art (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1978), p. 47.
References: This famous print is reproduced in the National Museum of Man international touring exhibition catalogue The Inuit Print (Ottawa: NMM, 1977) cat. 13; Leslie Boyd Ryan, Cape Dorset Prints: A Retrospective (San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2007), p.180; and elsewhere. For several original drawings by Sheouak see Jean Blodgett and Susan Gustavison, Strange Scenes: Early Cape Dorset Drawings (Kleinburg: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1993), pp. 106-111.