Early Printmaking in Ulukhaktok: Mini Prints

11 Jun

Last week, I posted a series of posts about our newest exhibition Bold Images in Stone. Today, I want to highlight another block we have on display:

Courtesy of Canadian Arctic Producers

This block has four images carved onto its face from three artists: Peter Aliknak, Mona Ohoveluk and Agnes Nanogak. These images are significantly smaller than the other blocks we have on display because unlike the images on other blocks, these were not meant to be made into limited edition print runs. These blocks were specifically created for sale through Canadian Arctic Producers (CAP) in unlimited runs, which means the resulting prints were not numbered. We were lucky enough to find one at CAP, to give you a sense of the resulting prints:

Detail of the print block, featuring a blanet toss scene by Mona Ohoveluk, courtesy of Canadian Arctic Producers

The resulting print, courtesy of Canadian Arctic Producers

These small prints give us particular insights into the printmaking process and also history of printmaking in Ulukhaktok. Just as it is rare to find existing print blocks, it is also rare to find intentionally unlimited print runs in the Arctic; to find a block for these images is incredible.

I’ve also been getting some great questions about the printing process recently and wanted to take this opportunity to address one of them: how exactly the ink is transferred from the block to the print. Generally, the printmaker lays the paper onto the block and rubs it with a flat tool called a barren, which really presses the ink into the paper. You can see how much goes through when you look at the back of a print, like this:

The back of Mona Ohoveluk's blanket toss scene, courtesy of Canadian Arctic Producers

There’s lots more to talk about in this exhibition, but Monday we will be switching our focus temporarily to our newest exhibition on the Inuit Sea Goddess. Keep posted for more in-depth looks at printmaking in Ulukhaktok, though, and be sure to send me any questions you have,

Posted by: Alysa Procida, MIA’s Educational Coordinator

3 Responses to “Early Printmaking in Ulukhaktok: Mini Prints”

  1. Diana July 5, 2011 at 9:09 AM #

    I was given this or one of these wool hangings by Mona Ohoveluk – The Blanket Toss – about 25 years ago. Is there a way to have this evaluated?

    • museumofinuitart July 15, 2011 at 7:15 PM #

      Hi Diana,

      We suggest you contact Waddington’s Auction House (www.waddingtons.ca) – they have an Inuit art specialist who can help you.


  2. Joseph Higgs September 3, 2011 at 9:27 PM #

    I have a original mini print by Peter Aliknak. It is the first print in a series of six prints on rice paper from Holman. It’s in it’s original frame with the original description of all the artist in the series pasted to the back of the frame.

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