Pudloo Pudlat

1916-92

Pudlo's works over the years demonstrate his keen visual sense, his versatility and innovativeness in subject matter and technique - tempered by his sense of humor - his knowledge of traditional life on the land, and his acknowledgement of the changing times.  Pudlo's thinking/drawing process was a truly creative approach, done both consciously and unconsciously.

Pudlo Pudlat lived as a hunter and made his home in small camps along the southwest coast of Baffin Island until the early 1960s. It was upon moving to Kiaktuuq, during a bout of tuberculosis, that Pudlo met James Houston, who encouraged him to explore his talent. Pudlo then began a practice that would come to encompass over 4,500 drawings, 180 prints and several sculptures.

Pudlo began his artistic career as a sculptor, but soon realized that he wanted to devote himself solely to drawing, painting, and printmaking. He used quite modest drawing materials: graphite pencils, colored pencils, felt-tipped markers and acrylic paints (acrylic paints were introduced to Cape Dorset in the 1970's by Kate Graham)1. Pudlo's mastering of the tools available to him, as well as his evocative power to depict relationships between the real and the imaginary, is where his extraordinary talent resides. Pudlo went beyond what the eye sees, transcending to an intimate and poetic universe of images of daily life which are maintained and enhanced by deep traditional and cultural understanding and knowledge. However, as connected as he was to his traditional culture, he was also fascinated by newer technologies. He was one of a few Inuit artists to depict modern realities of the north such as his characteristic airplanes and motor boats.

Pudlo's art invites the viewer to explore his imaginary world. Much of his work contains humor.  This quality combines with his ability to push boundaries of representation as well as linear and atmospheric perspectives. Throughout his career, Pudloo’s approach to art making pushed his own limits, he continually strove to improve his visual vocabulary through his representation of line, design, motif, and allocation of space.

It must be noted that Pudlo was an artist who demonstrated an ability to adapt to the times in which he lived. This is made evident through his thematic approach and his serial variations of themes like transportation (airplanes, boats etc.), musk-oxen, community, and landscape. These factors made Pudlo Pudlat a contemporary artist who looked upon his surroundings with vivacity and curiosity.

Reference: Marion E. Jackson and Judith M. Nasby, Contemporary Inuit Drawings (Guelph: MacDonald Stewart Art Centre, 1987).