The Pangnirtung Print Shop



[Click on a year in the left column to go to that year's Pangnirtung Print Collection]

[Click here to go directly to an Index of Pangnirtung Printmakers and Graphic Artists]

[Click here to view best-selling available Pangnirtung prints from the past 10 years]

The Pangnirtung Print Shop originated in 1969, with government support and financial assistance, as part of the Canadian government's effort to create cash-based employment in developing Inuit communities. The annual Pangnirtung Community Print Collection, under the auspices of the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts, promotes Inuit culture with fine art prints imagery that celebrates the land and traditional Inuit life, lore and legend. In 1973, the Print Shop published its first collection of limited-edition prints, which was sold in fine art galleries in Canada and the United States. Under the leadership of Lypa Pitsiulak, the Print Shop continued to produce limited-edition prints, broadening its range to include stencils, lithographs, etchings, and lino-cuts. Initially under the auspices of the Pangnirtung Eskimo Co-operative, annual collections were produced from 1975-1980 and 1983-88.

The creation of the Uqqurmiut Inuit Artists Association in 1988, initially a community effort aimed at taking control of printmaking in Pangnirtung, began a new era of stewardship for the local arts community. The UIAA purchased the assets of the Print Shop from the Pangnirtung Eskimo Co-operative and re-established printmaking in the community in 1991, operating out of the old “weave shop after the weavers moved their activities into the first of the new buildings that make up the Uqqurmiut Centre. Annual print collections resumed in 1992 and have continued ever since. The release of the 2003 Pangnirtung Community Print Collection marks the 30th anniversary of printmaking in Pangnirtung – three decades of output in all since 1973!

On March 29, 1994, a potentially devastating event occurred. During the small hours of the morning, a fire broke out in the old print shop and gutted the building completely. Equipment, raw materials and many prints and drawings were lost. Fortunately, a large portion of the drawings archives escaped with only minimal smoke damage. That year, alternative temporary printmaking facilities were made available by Nunavut Arctic College, and, despite their apparent devastating loss, the Inuit artists and printmakers succeeded in completing and delivering the 1994 print collection. Surely this effort was like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the flames, a true testament to the spirit and determination of the Pangnirtung printmakers. [Read more about this in the 1998 print catalogue introduction by John Houston]

Over the years, the Print Shop has seen many faces pass through its doors as printmakers. In 2004 there were ten participants making Pangnirtung prints: Josea Maniapik, Enookie Akulukjuk, Andrew Qappik, Jolly Atagooyuk, Noah Maniapik, Tommy Angnakak, Annie Kilabuk, Geela Sowdluapik, Leetia Alivaktuk, and Abigail Ootoova. As well, approximately another 25 individuals have been associated with the Print Shop as contributing artists.