Culture Clash

Annie Pootoogook captures Canada’s north-south divide

By David Balzer
June 27, 2006
Family Gathering, Whale Meat. Courtesy Power Plant/Fehely Fine Arts.

Family Gathering, Whale Meat

This is one of Pootoogook’s more conventional pieces a vignette that, perhaps, befits the work of Pitseolak or one of her contemporaries as much as it does Annie. Yet a handful of items in the drawing stand as reminders of how the act of whale hunting has changed for Pootoogook’s generation: the figures wear synthetic parkas and boots, drive a motorboat and collect meat pieces in cellophane bags.

Despite these modern elements, Campbell points to the resilience of this tradition, one that remains centred on sharing and socializing. Campbell also points to the dichotomies now present in Inuit food consumption, which are dealt with in Pootoogook’s other drawings (such as Preparing Seal in the Kitchen): seal or whale meat is still eaten on the floor, whereas many other meals are now eaten at a table.

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