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Tales from the Lives of Inuit Artists

by Raquel Rivera & illustrated by Jirina Marton

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-88899-714-2
Publisher: Groundwood

One might expect that these stories would examine the pivotal points when the four artists decided to take up sculpture or printmaking, but the world of art is far removed from the content of these pieces. Instead, they explore the rigors of life in the 20th-century Canadian arctic, but they also hint at the rough beauty that will be communicated through the artists’ work. When the hunter husband of one artist dies, her family is in danger of starving. Kenojuak, the other female artist, recalls her childhood encounter with the sea goddess. In “Pudlo and Kapik Go Hunting,” the artist anxiously watches his nephew Kapik jump from ice floe to ice floe to return to solid ground. The only tale related directly to the author through an interpreter focuses on the moment when a skilled hunter decides not to kill a polar bear. The other stories were retold from articles and autobiographical sources. A reproduction, a biographical sketch and a photo of the artist follow each story. Although the subject matter is engaging, the narration is flat. The glimpses of the artists’ work are more intriguing than the illustrator’s pastels, which include attractive landscapes, handsome animal portraits and human portrayals that vary in quality. (author’s note, bibliography, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-12)