Annie Pootoogook


Annie Pootoogook (1969-2016) was a Canadian artist renowned for her figurative artwork depicting contemporary Inuit life in Northern Canada. A pioneering visual storyteller, her artworks encouraged an important shift in the national consciousness towards contemporary Inuit art and life. 

Pootoogook's grandmother (Pitseolak Ashoona) and mother (Napachie Pootoogook) were both prolific and highly respected Inuit artists. Pitseolak Ashoona was one of the first Inuit artists to experiment with the medium of drawing as Inuit communities transitioned from their previous settlements into permanent communities in Northern Canada, where Pootgootook would be raised. 

In 1997, Annie Pootoogook began drawing and became a third-generation female Inuit artist. Within a decade she received widespread acclaim for her singular artistic vision. Her distinct drawings depict her own experiences of contemporary Inuit life in Kinngait (previously Cape Dorset), Nunavut. Pootoogook's work offers an unfiltered and unique glimpse into a community rarely depicted in contemporary art. 

Challenging notions of traditional Inuit art, Pootoogook colorfully chronicled her life and community from the simple or universal (cooking, watching tv, waiting in line at an ATM) to emotional (relationships, sexuality, spousal abuse, intergenerational trauma, addiction, death). Her art focuses on showcasing domestic life, female gender roles, hardships faced by Northern communities, and the impact of consumerism and technology affecting Inuit communities. 

Like her mother and grandmother, Pootgootook worked in the Inuit tradition of sulijuk, which means "it is true''. This tradition emphasizes depicting truthful or lived experiences rather than pursuing the avant-garde or trends. 

"A Friend's Visit" exemplifies Pootoogook's artistic vision and output. In this rare print, a woman faces the viewer with soft eyes and a tender smile. Her gentle composure highlights her benevolence, making this visceral exchange familiar and compassionate. 

Though there are few details of the interior, the woman is positioned in front of a window that reveals the glacial Northern climate behind her, a stark contrast to the warmth of her presence. Paradoxically, the limited palette of turquoise, beige, and black is consistent throughout the work, connecting the woman to her surroundings in this cohesive composition. 

Throughout her career, Pootoogook was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In 2006 Pootoogook achieved the remarkable milestone of becoming the first Inuit artist to win the Sobey Art Award. The following year her work was shown at the Montreal Biennale and documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany. Her works are highly sought after by collectors and are in the permanent collections of the National Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

"A Friend's Visit" 

Canada, 2005 (released in 2008)


Signed, titled, dated and numbered by the artist

Embossed logo in corner

14.75"H 22.25"W (work)

Very good condition.

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