Inuit-Cape Dorset, 1935-2010
Kananginak Pootoogook was the son of artist Josephie Pootoogook and the nephew of influential photographer and historian Peter Pitseolak. Kananginak began drawing and printmaking in the late 1950s when he and his wife, Shooyoo, moved to Cape Dorset, where he participated in the incipient graphic arts program. His work has been interpreted in a variety of print media: copper engraving, stonecut, stencil, lithography and etching. His work represents Arctic birds and other wildlife as well as narrative drawings of Inuit camp and hunting activities.
A prominent community leader, Kananginak helped found the West Baffin Co-operative in 1959 and served for several years as president of its Board of Directors. He was also a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts.
Kananginak’s work has been widely exhibited in galleries and public institutions. Known also as a sculptor, he was commissioned in 1997 by the Governor General of Canada, Roméo Leblanc, to construct an inuksuq that now stands on the grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa as part of a tribute to aboriginal people in Canada. In the last year of his life, he had his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Inuit Art in Toronto and received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the Arts.