Ulayu Pingwartok (1904 – 1978)
Cape Dorset, Nunavut Territory, Canada
Inuit graphic artist Ulayu Pingwartok (Ulayu / Ulayo / Ulayoo / Oolayou / Olayoo / Ulaya / Pinwartok / Pingwartuk) was born near Lake Harbour on southwestern Baffin Island in 1904. She started drawing after she moved into the settlement of Cape Dorset in 1959. Like all Inuit of the settlement, Pingwartok was encouraged to create drawings for the annual print collections. She produced seven hundred drawings in her life, and thirty of them were translated into prints for ten annual Cape Dorset collections between 1965 and 1979. Most of her drawings represent domestic scenes and nature. Pingwartok’s early drawings are portraits of birds. Later she focused on traditional camp life, especially women’s activities. Shelters were also a subject matter of her work. Her drawings were exhibited in several group exhibitions in Canada and the United States, including “The Inuit Print”, a landmark touring show. She had a solo show, “Ulayu,” which toured in 1982-1984. Her work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.