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Kingmeata Etidlooie

 © Tessa Macintosh

© Tessa Macintosh

Before his death in 1981, Kingmeata’s husband, Etidlooie Etidlooie, was a graphic and a print artist, a printmaker, sculptor, and painter in Cape Dorset.  Their children, Etulu Etidlui, Omalluq Oshutsiaq, Pukaluk Etungat and Kellypalik Etidlooie, and their grandson, Pitseolak Oshutsiaq, are sculptors.

“Born at Itinik camp near Lake Harbour, Northwest Territories, Canada, Kingmeata Etidlooie grew up and spent most of the first half of her life in similar sites along the southwest coast of Baffin Island.   She began to carve and to draw in the late 1950’s after the death of her first husband, Elijah.  As with most Inuit artists of her generation, Kingmeata’s creative endeavours mark a second phase in her life –one that parallels the significant changes experienced by the indigenous people of the Canadian Arctic over the past five decades.  With her second husband, Etidlooie Etidlooie (1910 – 1981) and their family, Kingmeata moved into the settlement of Cape Dorset in the mid -1960’s, exchanging a seasonally-based cape for a permanent residence.  Both she and her husband became artist members of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, recognized internationally for its printmaking studio and the strength of the graphic artists it represented.

A relatively prolific artist, Kingmeata had more than fifty of her prints published between 1970 and her death in 1979. Her work is characterized by a strong sense of order and structure.  Using predominantly simplified animal and bird motifs, she concentrated on the formal rather than the narrative qualities of her subjects.  However, her most important contribution to Inuit art has probably been her experimentation with media that are more painterly than linear.  In the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s Kingmeata became one of the first Cape Dorset artists to work with watercolours, which hadbeen given to her by Terry Ryan, Co-op manager and arts advisor, who recognized the painterly qualities of her drawings.  In the mid-1970’s the presence of Toronto painter, K.M. Graham, provided a further catalyst who came North to sketch and work with acrylic paints in her own color-field style.  Graham was impressed by Kingmeata’s watercolours and offered her acrylics upon he departure.  When a painting studio was established by the Cooperative in 1976, Kingmeata, along with Pudlo Pudlat (b. 1916) was one of the most committed and enthusiastic users.  The rich, saturated colors that were now attainable seemed to mesh perfectly with her formal sense of composition.  In works such as,”Sea Creatures with Birds” (1976), color, shade, texture, and shape are enmeshed in a delightful, lyrical image.”


                    Marie Routledge.
                    In “North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century:
                    A Biographical Dictionary”, 1995.

 



SELECTED WORKS