Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Annie Pootoogook's Tragic Story is our Social Tragedy

I held back in posting this article, since it is such a painful story.  I eventually decided that since it has made its way into the media, that silence doesn't have much value.

Annie Pootoogook has fallen on hard times.  And, it seems that she is following a path taken by a few native artists before her and its a collective national tragedy. Annie has been living on the
 streets in Ottawa. And to make matters worse, she is pregnant.

Annie is a member of the Cape Dorset art community and she is the 3rd generation Pootoogook artist.
She is noted for drawing themes of the life fabric she knows.  Her paintings have been noted for their blunt candor.

A recently written Wikipedia article reports that Annie has received assistance from none less then former Governor General Michaelle Jean, to try to get accommodations for her.

Pootoogook began drawing in 1997, working with the disarmingly simple media of crayons and ink on paper. Her works are large in scale and bold in execution. They portray contemporary Inuit life — juxtaposing intimate family scenes and home interiors with scenes of alcoholism and violence.  
Watching television is a recurring theme, seemingly in a matter-of-fact documentation of daily life, but tinged with the implied lack of physical or productive activity. Her titles are deadpan, e.g. "“Sadness and Relief for My Brother," "Memory of My Life: Breaking Bottles," or "Man Abusing His Partner." Living Inuit traditions do appear in her work, such as her portrayal of women tanning animals hides or families in fishing camps.  The passage of time figures heavily in her work, represented by a clock with hands set in different positions in different drawings.
The power of her work stems from its lack of obvious judgment. Her work does not moralize; she is just an observer, recording a reality both good and bad, with no distinction between the two. "In the last 10 years of her life she did an absolutely extraordinary series of drawings where she talked about the darker side of traditional life and, in fact, did speak about things like spousal abuse," said Pat Feheley, owner of Feheley Fine Arts, a gallery in Toronto that represents Pootoogook. 
 Source: Wikipedia. Please click here.
Annie was the winner of the 2006, $50,000 Sobey Art Award, and her works have been shown in formidable galleries.

The Ottawa Citizen recently reported Annie's story. If you wish to read the article and see a video of her story, please click here.

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