Wild Things: Papiara Tukiki


Papiara Tukiki, Wild Things VII, 2021, etching & chine colle, 18 ¾ x 19 in.

Papiara Tukiki (b. 1942) is an elder artist currently living in Kinngait (Cape Dorset). She was born at a camp in Nuwatta, located on the Foxe Peninsula on the southern end of Baffin Island. Tukiki lived in camps until 1962 when she moved into the settlement community at Kinngait. Shortly before the move, she began to experiment with drawing while living at Tikirak, drawing on any scrap paper she had access to. Transformation themes and creatures from her imagination were among the first images she drew in the early 1960s. Fast-forward more than fifty years and Tukiki’s distinctive fantastical images take on the spotlight in the recently released special print collection, Wild Things.

Wild Things includes ten whimsical new images created by Tukiki, each printed in a limited edition of thirty. In this series Tukiki’s dream-like depictions of transformations, creatures, spirits, and animals are executed in the delicate technique of etching and Chine collé, and printed by world-renowned Studio PM in Montreal.

The Making of Wild Things

To create the prints in Wild Things, Tukiki collaborated with Studio PM and master printer Paul Machnik who has been working with the Kinngait Studios since 1993. The method of producing etching and Chine collé prints is a painstaking one inclusive of many steps that involve artists and printers in both the North and South. Beginning in the Kinngait Studios, Tukiki meticulously etches each image onto metal plates. The plates are then shipped to Studio PM in Montreal for printing using the Chine collé technique. To get the textured background, kozo paper precoated with a rice glue is laid in place on the inked plates, then passes through the printing press. For Wild Things, a muted gold paper was used giving a pleasant monochromatic hue to the suite.

After all editions of Wild Things were printed in Montreal, they were sent up to Kinngait for Tukiki to sign from her home. The prints were then shipped back down to Dorset Fine Arts in Toronto for gallery distribution.

The liveliness of the animals, creatures, and transformations of which Tukiki etched directly onto the plates leap off the paper, budding with life. Upon closer inspection, subtleties prompt us to question what we are actually looking at: do the caribou in Wild Things VII have antlers, or vine-like entities protruding from their heads? Is the bird/human creature in Wild Things I a transformation or an entity from a dream? Difficult to answer but infinitely pondered, these are the wonders of Papiara Tukiki’s Wild Things.

Feheley Fine Arts has shown Tukiki’s work for many years and was thrilled to present her first solo exhibition, Drawings by Papiara Tukiki, in the spring of 2013. Prints from the Wild Things collection (2021) are currently available at the gallery.

To view available prints from the collection, click here.

Papiara Tukiki signing her print Wild Things III at her home in Kinngait, Nunavut. Photo credit: Jummi Takpungai.

Papiara Tukiki at home. Photo credit: Jummi Takpungai.