Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait

June 10, 2017 – January 8, 2018

Pitseolak Ashoona (Inuit, 1904–1983), Migration towards Our Summer Camp, 1983 (released in 1984 folio). Lithograph. Courtesy Dorset Fine Arts.

National Museum of the American Indian George Gustav Heye Center
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House
One Bowling Green
New York, NY

2nd Floor, Corridor Gallery

Loosely translated, the Inuktitut word akunnittinni means “between us.” This exhibition chronicles a visual conversation between an Inuk grandmother, mother, and daughter: Pitseolak Ashoona (1904–1983), Napachie Pootoogook (1938–2002), and Annie Pootoogook (1969–2016). Their artworks provide a personal and cultural history of three generations of Inuit women whose art practices included autobiographical narratives and chronicled intimate and sometimes harsh memories and historically resonant moments. The prints and drawings on view also include sardonic references to pop culture, which now infuses everyday life in Kinngait, as well as nuanced depictions of family and village life. Kinngait is a remote Arctic community located on Dorset Island, Nunavut, Canada. Artists of the region are known internationally for their work, produced in places like the now famous Kinngait Studios (West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative) since the 1940s. Among the most recognized are Pitseolak Ashoona, Napachie Pootoogook, and Annie Pootoogook.

—Andrea R. Hanley (Navajo), Exhibition Curator, Institute of American Indian Arts, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

This exhibition was organized by the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Extended label text provided by Andrea R. Hanley and Edward J. Guarino.