Mother and Son Item Number: Na797 from the MOA: University of British Columbia
Print depicting two figures, the taller female figure is front-facing and has a small child's face in her hood. The other figure is pictured in profile, and both are in traditional Inuit dress, which is brown and blue-green. Below the image is written, "Mother and Son Stonecut 18/50 Dorset 1975 Pauta," and the artist's name is written in Inuit syllabics. The artist's name is also written in Inuit syllabics above the printmaker's name, also in syllabics, which is printed above the Cape Dorset stylized red igloo in the upper left-hand corner of the image. The Canadian Eskimo Arts Council blind embossed stamp is in the bottom right-hand corner.
Contemporary Inuit prints were first produced at Cape Dorset in 1957. Although precursors to printmaking can be seen in women's skin applique work and in men's incising of ivory, stone and bone, the impetus for printmaking was as a commercial venture. This venture was established jointly by Inuit artists and John Houston, the civil administrator for Cape Dorset. Other Inuit communities quickly followed the commercial success of Cape Dorset's West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative. Printmaking developed as a communal activity following a Japanese, rather than a Western, model of serigraph production. Each year the cooperatives produce a series of limited edition prints which are sold in the retail art market. In 1965, the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council was established from the Canadian Eskimo Art Committee to ensure high standards were maintained. Printmaking, along with stone carving, provide cash income for communities which have undergone rapid and significant change, during the late 20th century, from traditional hunting based societies to settled communities dependent on consumer goods. The prevalent images depicted in Inuit art are of traditional life, arctic animals and mythology. Recently, contemporary subjects have been depicted by a minority of artists.