Janet Kigusiuq

Janet Kigusiuq was a multidisciplinary artist born in the Back River region, NU [1]. Kigusiuq was the eldest daughter of Jessie Oonark and daughter-in-law of Luke Anguhadluq, both notable graphic artists. In the mid 1960s, Kigusiuq settled in Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU, where she began her artistic practice.

Throughout her artistic career, Kigusiuq experimented with many different mediums including drawing, print, textiles, wall hangings and towards the end of her career, collage. She began drawing in the mid 1960s by illustrating figurative scenes of camp life and oral traditions [2]. Kigusiuq frequently depicted her figures in profile with distinctive eyes ringed by prominent eyelashes. Occasionally her figures were accompanied by text describing the scene [3]. Her illustrated works generally depict gatherings of people, animals and other beings. In 1970 two of her prints were included in the Baker Lake Print Collection [4]. As her career progressed, Kigusiuq incorporated more colour and greater abstraction into her works, the outlines of her subjects becoming less finite.

Kigusiuq moved easily between mediums [5]. She created her first collage in 1995 as part of a diploma program set up by the Arctic College in Qamani’tuaq [6]. Her collages feature bold, brightly coloured landscapes and camp scenes. The larger, more abstract shapes found in her landscapes were torn by hand, as in Red Lake with Rocks (1999), while the smaller pieces were precisely cut using scissors, such as the drying char in Orange Pipsi/Dried Fish (1998) [7].

Kigusiuq’s works are found among numerous prominent collections, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ON, the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC and the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, MB. Her collages were recently exhibited at Feheley Fine Arts in Toronto, ON at the exhibition Colour in April 2017. Her works have been featured twice on the cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly and she was elected as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2002. 

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Accomplishments

1984: Presented a Jessie Oonark print to the Pope at a Mass held in Ottawa, ON.


Citations/Footnotes

1. Kyra Vladykov Fisher, “Feature: Janet Kigusiuq Uqayuittuq,” Inuit Art Quarterly 22, no. 3 (Fall 2007): 10.
2. James Sinclair, “Breaking New Ground: The Graphic Work of Shuvinai Ashoona, Janet Kigusiuq, Victoria Mamnguqsualuk and Annie Pootoogook,” Inuit Art Quarterly 19, no. 3&4 (2004): 58.
3. Ed Guarino, “Love at First Sight: The Graphic Art of Janet Kigusiuq,” King Galleries, last modified May 1, 2015, https://kinggalleries.com/love-at-first-sight-the-graphic-art-of-janet-kigusiuq/.
4. Katie Lewis, “In Memorium: Janet Kigusiuq (1926-2005),” Inuit Art Quarterly 20, no. 3(Fall 2005): 40.
5. Fisher, “Feature," 14.
6. Ibid, 10.
7. Ibid, 14.