Big Woman

Art Type
Baker Lake 1974
Stonecut & Stencil on laid japan paper
Certified Artist Proof Print # IV of V printed by Simon Tookoome
Size (in)
Paper (H x W): 25 ¼ x 37 in
Size (cm)
Paper (H x W): 64 x 94 cm
Not Framed, please enquire
Product ID



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Big Woman” by Jessie Oonark – Inuit Art from Baker Lake 1974 print collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.

Condition:          This print received professional document restoration work to remove print attached to matboard, filling skinned area with similar toned paper fibers, and pressing flat to remove creases created during the removal process.

Print looks in excellent condition!

Description by Artist:     No description by artist found.

Notes from DaVic Gallery:   “Big Woman” –  Not only this is one of Oonark’s most prominent and iconic works but also rare in that this is one of only five Artist Proof prints known to not be intended for market distribution and to be kept by the publisher.  This print is Edition Artist Proof IV/V with distinctive Baker Lake chop and syllabic names for Jessie Oonark and Simon Tookoome.   This is a rare print in that is not usual to see Inuit art proof prints in the market from Baker Lake or any other community for that matter, as these are normally kept by the co-op that produced the prints.  It is possible, and cases are known, that directors in charge at the time could have sold, or given away, this and other Proof prints, which explains this Proof print.  Additionally, being that print descriptions are done by hand, it is not very common, but not unusual to see corrections.

In this iconic image of “Big Woman”, Oonark concentrates many of the symbols of womanhood often found in her images.  These images together form not only a profoundly pleasing composition but a personal iconography.  Women’s traditional tattoos; the curve-bladed ulu, the all-purpose instrument that no Inuit woman would be without, rendered here as whimsical pie-wedge shapes emerging from the sides of the figure’s head; the hairsticks that were both practical and aesthetically pleasing; the complex patterns of the amauti or woman’s parka; and perhaps what could be a child carried in her amauti’s hood.  Here, her designs reflect her passion and deep understand of colour, symmetry and pattern.

“This fine stonecut and stencil version of her drawing, faithfully rendered by Simon Tookoome (himself a gifted artist), is arguably the finest Baker Lake print ever made; it is certainly one of the great classic Inuit graphic images as well. “– Ingo Hessel





Woman;   Tunnilik Arnaq (Tattooed Woman);  Woman Holding Ulu;   Woman Doing Her Chores;