Timootie Pitsiulak: Pushing the boundaries


Born in Kimmirut, Nunavut, and based in Cape Dorset, Timootie (Tim) Pitsiulak was one of Canada’s most sought after contemporary Inuit Artists. Best known for his drawings, he was also an avid hunter, sought-after jewelry-maker, sculptor, lithographer and photographer.

In December 2016, at the age of 49, Pitsiulak passed away in Iqaluit, where he was being treated for pneumonia. He is survived by his seven children and wife Mary. The Art Bank would like to extend our condolences to the artist’s family, as well as to the creative community who were inspired by Pitsiulak and his work.

Repairing the SnowmobileTimootie Pitsiulak, ‘Repairing the Snowmobile’ (2008), ink and coloured pencil, 26″ x 39″

In celebration of Tim Pitsiulak’s life, we would like to share two works from our collection which demonstrate how he pushed the boundaries of traditional subject matter. Pitsiulak’s influences ranged from land, wildlife, and Inuit mythology, to everyday-life in the North, and technology’s impact on the land and its people. These works often carry a unique narrative, which is the case for Pitsiulak’s large-scale drawing, ‘Loadmaster’.

LOADMASTERTimootie Pitsiulak, ‘Loadmaster’ (2007), ink and coloured pencil, 48″ x 95″

According to the artist, this drawing records a key event that happened in his community. ‘Loadmaster’ portrays Cape Dorset’s newest garbage truck, which was a long-awaited replacement for a very old one. This new truck was much anticipated and celebrated by the community. The truck arrived through the summer sealift, which is a boat that brings various items to Cape Dorset during the summer months. This particular work marked a new direction for the artist, who had only just begun expanding his drawings to large scale surfaces.

Timootie Pitsiulak’s work has been exhibited widely, with shows in both public and commercial galleries across Canada. He has lead workshops in major Canadian cities, and his drawing of belugas and a bowhead whale were featured on the 25 cent piece in 2013.

His work will continue to inspire and reshape the narrative of the North.

JulieMartin_Student2016_blogAbout the author: Julie Martin
Julie Martin is a student and emerging professional in the cultural sector. She holds a B.A. in Honours History from Cape Breton University and is currently enrolled in Applied Museum Studies at Algonquin College. Active in arts, culture and heritage on Cape Breton Island, she moved to Ottawa in 2015 to pursue her studies. Julie worked at the Canada Council for the Arts as a summer intern in 2016, and is currently completing a field placement at the Canada Council and Art Bank.

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