The notion of collaboration has existed at the Kinngait Studios since its inception. In the late 1950s, the concept of printmaking was introduced involving two players—artist and printer—to work in tandem to produce a graphic. Fast forward to 2022: Johnny Pootoogook, Shuvinai Ashoona, and Quvianaqtuk Pudlat each collaborate on a single drawn composition titled Head of a Wolf —the result is unprecedented. Johnny draws the head, Shuvinai the body, and Quvianaqtuk the legs. Each artists’ signature style remains so distinctive yet strangely cohesive.
The works in this exhibition are the result of a project introduced by former studio manager, Jordan McQuaid. The intent: to re-invigorate the studio’s long history of artistic collaboration, which had dwindled since the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. Based on André Breton’s Surrealist parlour game “exquisite corpse,” the first player creates an intuitive drawing, folds the paper over to conceal it, and passes it to the next player to compose a further image. In the Kinngait version, bespoke envelopes with flaps were created to shroud portions of the paper that had been drawn on already, revealing only the bottom or top inch of the existing image.
The project was an innovative endeavor that came at a critical moment; in many ways it functioned to bring people together during a tough time. Simultaneously, the resulting artistic output was unlike anything seen prior. The drawings in Fusion represent not only an effort of artistic colleagues to produce artworks collectively, but also the longevity, adaptability, and inherent collaborative culture of the Kinngait Studios.
Participating artists include:
Susie Seeta Saila