Annie Pootoogook’s work is known for challenging the conventional expectations of Inuit art. Moving away from the traditional practices of sculpture and printmaking, she created unique renderings of modern Inuit life through drawing. Pootoogook explored the private and domestic realm of Inuit homes and reflected on her experiences living as a female Inuit artist working in a contemporary urban society. At times, her work also explores the darker side of the North, such as domestic violence, substance abuse and economic struggles. Annie Pootoogook’s artworks are wonderful examples of the intricacies of everyday life and are captured on paper in a candid and direct manner.
Annie Pootoogook (1969-2016) was born in Cape Dorset, Nunavut and moved to Ottawa as an adult. Both of her parents, Napachie Pootoogook (1938-2002) and Eegyvudluk Pootoogook (1931-2000), were artists who were known for their graphic works, along with her uncle, Kananginak Pootoogook (1935-2010). Annie is the granddaughter of the renowned Pitseolak Ashoona (c.1908-1939). Annie Pootoogook was awarded the prestigious Sobey Art Award in 2006. That same year she exhibited at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, and in 2007 she was invited to exhibit at Documenta in Kassel, Germany. In 2018, a book entitled Annie Pootoogook: Cutting Ice was published in conjunction with an exhibition organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, which serves to commemorate the life and work of a remarkable artist a year after her tragically early death.