Works from Baker Lake artist Mary Yuusipik featured in Winnipeg Art Gallery

Works from an artist from the Arctic community of Baker Lake is now being showcased at the Winnipeg Art Gallery adding to its massive collection of Inuit art.

The new works give a unique insight into the life of inland Inuit.

Each picture tells a story of life in the Inuit community of Baker Lake which sits about 250 km inland from the western coastline of Hudson’s Bay.

Unlike many Inuit communities who have a strong connection to the ocean, the people of Baker Lake do not.

Mary Yuusipik was from Baker Lake and a multi-talented artist known for her stone carvings and needle work on fabric.

Her work wasn’t discovered until 2014.

“I’ve admired her sculpture and her wall hangings over the years,” said Darlene Coward, curator of Inuit art at the gallery. “And then when I discovered that she had been making drawings I was just so excited because having known of her so long it was nice to actually get to meet her.”

Coward worked closely  with Yuusipik in 2014 and 2015 when she collected her stories.

Yuusipik died in 2017.

Coward said her drawings represent the positive life Mary had in Baker Lake.

“I think so, so many of them are very happy you know she thoroughly enjoyed her life when she was growing up it was so much fun,” said Coward.

“And then just interested to read the story of what was going on, it’s quite interesting.”

According to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, there is more to see from Baker Lake.

“A second exhibit, Nivinngajuliaat from Baker Lake, opens at the WAG this Saturday, bringing together wall hangings by nine artists, most of whom are women. Nivinngajuliaat, or “wall hanging” in Inuktitut, includes work by Yuusipik’s acclaimed mother, Jessie Uunaq.

Yuusipik’s exhibit will at the gallery until March 2019.