Pitseolak Niviaqsi RCA

1947-2015

Pitseolak was born to two well-respected artists Kunu and Niviaksiak both of whom contributed to the early Cape Dorset collections. He was probably introduced to lithography by his elder brother, Qiatsuq, who started working in the printshop in the early 1970s. Pitseolak’s aunt and uncle are well-known artists, Lucy and Tikituk Qinnuayuak. It is clear that Pitseolak comes from a family with a long history of artmaking.

He participated in the lithography program since its inception in the early seventies, initially as an assistant to Pee Mikkigak, his brother Quiatsuq and Bob Patterson, who was acting arts advisor at the time. Since 1975, his name has appeared on 205 prints in sixteen annual collections, more than half of which are lithographs. He was considered a Master Printer in the Lithography Studio at the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op (WBEC). In 1977 Pitseolak, Wallace Brannen (then supervisor of the litho shop) and Jimmy Manning (assistant arts advisor) travelled to Holman Island to introduce lithography to the resident printers. Pitseolak's work has been exhibited through various exhibitions from the late 1970s.

The artist was a versatile, prolific and talented artist. As a sculptor, his talent for using positive and negative space, imbued his work with a lightness and fluidity. His sculpture often was relatively large in size, highly polished and displayed flowing forms and exquisite detail. His subject matter ranged from mythological creatures, fanciful birds and caribou to sensitive portrayals of a mother with her children.

Reference:
Jean Blodgett, “In Cape Dorset We Do It This Way”, (Kleinburg, Ontario: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1991.
Derek Norton & Nigel Reading, Cape Dorset Sculpture. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005.

COLLECTIONS:
Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal, Quebec
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec
Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection 1959 – 1999, Cape Dorset, NU
McMaster University Art Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario
McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario
Musee d’art Inuit Brousseau, Quebec City, Quebec
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, NWT
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba