Signed, lower center: [Inuktitut syllabics]; Reverse: upper right, in graphite, 6311F; lower right: 30 OONARK, MAY 1, 1970 150-
These two drawings by Jessie Oonark exhibit the artist’s characteristic bold use of color and her confident execution of lines. The bottom drawing depicts the performance of katajjaq (throat singing). Women developed katajjaq from a game they played during evenings while men were away hunting. One woman begins to sing, followed by another, with the game ending when someone loses her breath, breaks concentration, or laughs. The two women singing are wearing amautiit, women’s parkas made for carrying children. The three figures on the lower register appear to be watching the katajjaq, their positions indicating conviviality and intimacy with one another.
From the 2021 exhibition A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Katherine W. Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming; John R. Stomberg Ph.D, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director; Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art; and Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University
Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein Collection, Class of 1967 Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 4, 2021–February 6, 2022.
John R. Stomberg, A Legacy for Learning: The Jane and Raphael Bernstein collection; Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, Hood Museum of Art, 2021, Plate 31, p.56, listed p.100.
Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; sold to Jane and Raphael Bernstein, Ridgewood, New Jersey, August 19, 1975; lent to present collection, 2011; given to present collection, 2013.
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