Tim Pitsiulak

Tim Pitsiulak was a Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU-based artist who worked primarily in drawing and printmaking. He was born in Kimmirut, NU and began drawing as a child. Though he experimented with sculpture and trained in making jewellery at Arctic College he excelled in graphic arts. His first print Caribou Migration (2005) was released in the Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection in 2005 only a few years after moving to Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU. The detailed print showing a family of caribou bounding across the page marked the beginning of a successful career in the medium.

Pitsiulak made drawings of his daily experiences choosing subjects that strongly reflect his interests as an Inuk, an artist and an active hunter [1]. Across these roles Pitsiulak demonstrated a deep respect for, and connection to, the land and beings around him, which he communicated through his work.
Though he is undeniably one of the most successful print artists in recent years, Pitsiulak’s drawings have garnered him the most acclaim. Throughout the course of his career he made detailed and memorable works often sourced from his own photographs. Pitsiulak’s deep affection for his community and his place within it was borne out again and again in his tender and honest depictions of life in Kinngait, whether of sweeping landscapes or the heavy, complex machinery necessary to build permanent structures in the unforgiving tundra [2].

His understanding of the natural world and its balance is evident in works such as After Dinner (2014) where a sleeping polar bear rests alongside the skull of a walrus. Rendered in exceptional detail this work deftly explores the cyclical relationship between predator and prey and hints at the viewers’ own position, through Pitsiulak’s eyes, as observer as well as hunter. Similarly in Untitled (Cockpit) (2008) the artist depicts an intimate overhead view of the Arctic landscape from a first-person vantage. Here large windows frame both the rocky terrain and blue water below as well as the light blue gradient of the sky above in a composition that captures and conveys the artists’ affinity for his home.

Pitsiulak’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across North America and has been collected widely, by both public institutions and private collectors. His work sits in the public collection of institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON and the Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC. Pitsiulak has appeared numerous times in the Inuit Art Quarterly including having his work on the cover of the Fall 2008 issue.



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Accomplishments 

2016      Winner of the CHARS Art Competition.
2016      Artist Residency at Open Studio in Toronto, ON. 
2015      Commissioned by Cadillac Fairview Corporation to create a large-scale drawing.
2015      Designed 25-cent coin for the Royal Canadian Mint. 
2013      Artist Residency at New Leaf Studios in Vancouver, BC. 
2012      Artist Residency at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, AB.



Citations/Footnotes

1. Christine Lalonde, “Tribute: Tim Pitsiulak (1967-2016)” Inuit Art Quarterly 30, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 16.
2. Andrew Hunter, "Tim Pitsiulak: Stories of What Lies Beneath," Inuit Art Quarterly 30, no. 3 (Fall 2017): 69.