As a mature and established artist, William Noah provides perspective and life experience through his work. At first glance the Baker Lake artist’s drawings and paintings depict vast landscapes and camp settlements in the Arctic. Peel back the textured layers and pertinent and political messages are revealed.
“I draw my true life,” Noah says of his work. The beautiful rolling hills and canyons of the North are contrasted in his drawings with the vast mining projects, now widespread in the Arctic as a main source of employment.
Some messages are more overt; the painting No Bird Flu Flew to Nunavut looks at the concerns of transmitting illnesses, and Global Warming and Pollution addresses climate change directly. Other drawings are seemingly innocuous with their breath-taking landscapes, but they too are cautious reminders of the real effects of climate change. According to Noah, “The impact of global warming is strong and coming much sooner than expected. Already the winters are warmer and there is less snow and ice. The main pollution travels from other countries through the clouds and sky. The next is our own garbage, raw sewage, and the airplanes that fly everyday way up in the sky.”
Change is constant. It affects the environment and technology, and it is visible in our relationships with both. In the drawing My First Toys, Noah reflects on his introduction to motorized vehicles, adding that despite his excitement, he first needed to learn from experienced hunters before he could fully utilize the skidoo for hunting. “My late mother bought me a motorcycle, and it was not made for hunting so I called it my toy. The skidoo was okay. These were my very first toys.”
Overall, however, Noah’s drawings cling to the beauty of the land and camp life. With increased change, the ties to traditions and camp life grow stronger. Some works even incorporate multiple views within one drawing, which Noah fondly refers to as “dimensional” drawings. These works, along with the artist’s experimentation with larger scale and video, show Noah’s ongoing attraction to try new things in his work.
Feheley Fine Arts is pleased to present a second solo exhibition for William Noah.
To view available artworks by William Noah, click here.