Noah Maniapik started drawing when he was a young boy. In 2001 he turned his artistic talents to printmaking at the Uqqaurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts in Pangnirtung. He and the other artists at Uqqaurmiut produce an annual collection of prints and sell individual prints.
When Global Warming 101 expedition member Elizabeth Andre talked with Noah, he was working on a complicated print using both stencils and linoleum block carving. When the carving is finished, Noah will roll paint onto the linoleum block and press paper on top. This print will be a “mirror image” of the block. The spaces where Noah carved away the Linoleum will show on the final print as a white space, while areas not carved will show up as dark spaces. In the white spaces left after the printing, Noah will add artwork using stencils. He carefully cuts the designs out of thick paper and then uses oil-based paints and large brushes to color in the space.
Noah plans to spend around ten hours working on this print. After the first printing (the artist’s proof) is complete, additional prints will take about half-an-hour to make. Noah numbers the prints and signs each one.
The subject of this particular print is an Inuit legend. A Shaman is speaking with Sedna, the goddess of the sea, to ask for abundant food for the people for the upcoming winter. Intertwined in Sedna’s hair are all the animals of the sea; walrus, narwhal, seals…. Inuit legends and animistic transformations (where a person turns into an animal) are some of Noah’s favorite themes.
Noah currently has fifteen different prints for sale. Some of his earlier prints have already sold-out. You can see more of his and other Pangnirtung artists’ works at www.uqqurmiut.com .
The Inuit artists’ work speaks to the close connection between the people, the environment, and the wildlife.