Lipa Pitsiulak

Lipa Pitsiulak

Lipa Pitsiulak

Lipa Pitsiulak (1943 – 2010)
Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Canada

“I do drawings that may not seem to make any sense at all to some people because they are about the really old, old way of life. My drawings seem to come from up in the air and they don’t seem to be going anywhere until I put them on paper or carve them. The images might not make sense to someone who doesn’t know the Inuit way of life” (Lypa Pitsiulak in Latocki 1983:19).

“When I was a boy, I used to try to do carving. I only started drawing seriously when drawing was encouraged in Pangnirtung by Gary Magee. Before that I used to try drawing on the window of my tent when there was frost. The window was made out of the dried intestine of a square flipper. I used my fingers for drawing different kinds of pictures. I never really thought about using pencil and paper as it was hard to get hold of paper to draw on” (Pitsiulak in Latocki 1983:12).

Lipa is influenced by ancestors, the old ways of living, and his family history, including his father’s observations: “They are not tales or legends, but things he witnessed during the time of the shaman. Inuit used to have many different practices of this kind” (Pitsiulak in Pangnirtung Print Collection 1977:33).

“I usually try to relate my drawings to the history, the life of our ancestors. … These are my visions of how our ancestors’ everyday life might have been. They survived through hard work before firearms were introduced, and their main weapon was a harpoon. This I truly believe; they survived through hard work. I want to portray this so it will not be forgotten. I visualize what they had to go through. I can only put my vision on a drawing; it may not have been exactly that way. The idea is, can it be seen again?” (Pitsiulak in Latocki 1983:13). His work also depicted the relationships shared between animals, humans, and the spirit world.

“I usually try do draw something that makes sense, and to me drawing usually makes sense if you have experienced what you are drawing yourself. It might not make sense to someone else, but I draw what I have done. It seems to be all right to draw something even if it looks sad, as long as it has actually happened. I have heard that all my drawings should look happy. I draw what I have gone through in my life, not just happiness” (Pitsiulak in Latocki 1983:13).

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