Culture Clash

Annie Pootoogook captures Canada’s north-south divide

By David Balzer
June 27, 2006
Man Trying to Think. Courtesy Power Plant/Fehely Fine Arts.

Man Trying to Think

“Annie is not too forthcoming about her work,” says Campbell, “and at times I can only speculate on her intent.” This highly personal approach makes Pootoogook’s drawings extra intriguing: rather than using standard gestures associated with Inuit art, Pootoogook asserts her own voice, inviting a wealth of analyses and guesses.

Man Trying to Think presents such an enigma. Southern viewers, unable to decode Pootoogook’s use of syllabics, might assume the figure (a nod to Rodin?) is contemplating a weighty, philosophical matter. According to Campbell – who in this case managed to get Pootoogook to spill the beans – the man is simply distressed about not being able to pay his electrical bill, which is represented in the top left-hand corner as the other half of a rectangle bearing Nunavut’s flag.


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