More than perhaps any Inuit graphic artist, Martha Ittuluka'naaq expressed herself with a radical economy of line, developing a kind of visual shorthand. Although she filled in some drawings with colour and a few details, many of her drawings of animals and people and most of the resulting eight prints are sparse in the extreme. This can be partly explained by her drawing technique, which was frequently aided by the use of cardboard stencils. Ittuluka'naaq drew figures on cardboard, cut out the resulting shapes, and retraced those shapes onto her drawing paper. Sometimes several almost-identically shaped animals appear in the same image, as is the case in one of her most famous prints, Musk-oxen and Wolves from 1971.
It is quite likely that Ittuluka'naaq used this technique in the drawing that inspired this print. The gaps that are formed by the artist not "finishing" the outline on the feet of the animal - probably a caribou but possibly a muskox - brilliantly results in it having four legs and hooves, albeit it tiny ones! Likewise the drummer (a shaman?) effectively has two legs and two arms, holding drum and beater. The image is breathtakingly simple yet profoundly engaging and moving; it is truly magical, and highly abstract in the way that prehistoric cave paintings often are.
References: This print was included in the National Museum of Man international touring exhibition catalogue The Inuit Print (Ottawa: NMM, 1977) cat. 118. For three original drawings by the artist see Marion Jackson et al, Qamanittuaq: Where the River Widens (Guelph: Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, 1995), cats. 20-22. For more drawings see Feheley Fine Arts, The Butler Collection: Early Baker Lake Drawings (Toronto, 1999), pp. 52-61.