Ooloosie Saila: Surging Skies


Ooloosie Saila, COMPOSITION (ROARING FALLS), 2019, Coloured pencil & ink, 32 3/4 x 50 in.

Feheley Fine Arts is pleased to present an exhibition of recent drawings by Kinngait artist Ooloosie Saila, the artist’s second solo show at the gallery. Completed between late-2019 and 2021, this body of work builds on the subjects of Saila’s earlier drawings, taking them to new levels of form, colour, and detail. Vibrantly coloured and dynamically composed, Saila’s drawings visualize the diverse weather, incendiary skies, wild waters, and lyrical birds of her Arctic.

Unique within this body of work is scale, noticeably smaller than Saila’s grand landscapes presented in early 2019. With the exception of a few, most of these drawings were created during COVID-19 lockdowns between 2020 and 2021 when the Kinngait Studios were closed. Saila, like so many of us, shifted to a work-from-home model. Less studio space led to working on smaller paper and realizing her monumental landscapes on a different scale, which the artist successfully achieves. Bursting with radiance and power, the smaller works exude and big presence—a small but mighty energy.

Some landscapes also take on new forms, like Composition (Landscape Reflection) (2021) which depicts a mirror image of mountains on the water. Drawn on black paper using shades of browns, greens, and blues, the piece is an interesting departure from Saila’s previous work, verging more on the abstract than ever before. Likewise, the mesmerizing composition Composition (Circle Sunset) (2021) deviates from the traditional landscape drawing. It depicts a red and pink sunset over the land in circular form, envisioning what it might look like to view this scene from far above the atmosphere through a fish-eye lens.

Saila’s newer works also explore a compelling visual synthesis of her two foremost subjects: the landscape and birds. Composition (Flying Landscape) (2021), and Composition (Goose Landscape) (2021) both depict lyrical birds with colourful feathers flowing across the paper. Within the body of the birds are Saila’s signature landscapes featuring the water, mountains, and sky in all their glory. Through the bird the landscape appears, representing a perfect harmony between two facets of nature.

About the Artist
Ooloosie Saila (b. 1991) began drawing in 2015 and quickly became a central figure at the Kinngait Studios. Her work explores diverse colour palettes, often depicting scenes from her local Arctic landscape, and extravagant birds. Saila’s signature technique involves densely applied coloured pencil that creates texture and movement in her vibrant works.

Feheley Fine Arts presented Saila’s work for the first time at Art Toronto 2017 and held her breakout solo-exhibition, Ooloosie Saila: Horizons, two years later in 2019. Saila’s work can be found in the collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Royal Bank of Canada, Capital One, and many more private collections across the country and internationally.