Artists often say they create art for themselves and don’t care what other people think. But when Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn tracked down Jutai Toonoo working in Nunavut’s Kinngait Studios in 2010, we got the sense that he really, really meant it.
Toonoo used human imagery to explore identity issues and cultural conflict in the North for much of his career.
But at the time of his sudden death in 2015, he’d begun exploring more personal themes in his work, like cancer, a disease that had begun to ravage friends and family members.
Many experts say he produced some of the most provocative contemporary artwork to ever come out of the Arctic.
But as for all the rest, there’s no better person to tell you about it than Jutai Toonoo himself.