Fish Weir Item Number: Na906 from the MOA: University of British Columbia
Print depicting two men at a fish weir beside a camp site that consists of two tents, drying fish, two stone cairns, and three figures next to a boat with oars and harpoons lined up above it. Below the image is written, "Fish Weir Lithograph 9/30 Dorset Jamasie 1977." The name of the artist is written in Inuit syllabics in the bottom right-hand corner, and the name of the printmaker is printed in Inuit syllabics along with the Cape Dorset stylized red igloo seal on the bottom left-hand side. The Canadian Eskimo Arts Council blind embossed stamp is in the bottom left-hand corner, and the Cape Dorset blind embossed stamp is in the lower 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.