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Welcome to Art Den!

My name is Annie Pillaktuaq and I'm an Inuit artist born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. In Canada, Inuit are the original peoples of Inuvialuit (Northwest Territories and Yukon), Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Labrador), and Nunavut. 

My work challenges what you think you know about Inuit artists. It is a marriage of Inuit symbols and motifs with contemporary, bold lines, as well as colours. I am deeply influenced by some of the original masters of cubism, while also reflecting on my Inuit identity and experience to create my art. My landscapes call on Inuit drawing. Simple, maybe even minimal, but always powerful and steeped in our culture and way of knowing the world.

A survivor of family violence, I spent years living in shelters in Nunavut. I watched and learned as Inuit women painted, sewed, and drew. As a person with disability, I was (and still am) frequently underestimated and never found the support or the courage to attempt “art”, except for knitting and creating sealskin jewellery. You could say the last two were my first loves. When I moved to Ottawa in my 30s, I took classes at the Ottawa School of Art. At first, I wasn’t very good, but with practice and support from mentors I cultivated my own style.

Today, I am a confident artist. I do not always have the words to describe what I am doing and even what I am using. But I can create as long as I have a paint brush in my hand and some paint. My creations do not always make sense, but my mind visualizes life as a series of pictures or symbols, both big and small. These images come together in my work.

My paintings can be found in corporate collections, such as the Canada Council Art Bank, as well as in private collections across Canada and the world. 

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