Alec Akiknak Banksland
Harry Egotak
Victor Ekootak
Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak
Mark Emerak
Agnes Nanogak Goose
Rex Kangoak Goose
William Kagyut
Helen Kalvak
Elsie Klengenberg
Patrick Akovak Klengenberg
Stanley Elonak Klengenberg
Peter Malgokak
Susie Malgokak
Roberta Memogana
Louie Nigiyok
Mabel Nigiyok
Mona Ohoveluk
Mary K. Okheena
Peter Palvik
Flossie Papidluk

Alec Banksland
Alec Aliknak Banksland
Photo: Arts & Culture of the North.


Preparing for Fishing
Two Eagles

Alec Aliknak Banksland was born on Baillie Island, near Tuktoyaktuk, to Natkutsiak (Billy Banksland) and Topsy Ekiona. His sister is artist Agnes Nanogak Goose (1925-2001). In his youth, his family migrated between Baillie Island and Banks Island. They moved to the Holman area about 1934 — one of the first families to do so. He married Elizabeth Putuitok, who lived in the area, and they later had eight children. Putuitok learned English during the five years she spent at Charles Camsell Hospital in Edmonton, where she was being treated for tuberculosis. Her skills as a translator enabled her to help Aliknak sell his carvings to visitors during the 1950s.

Aliknak’s drawings are meticulously detailed interpretations of traditional life, and his felt tip pen drawings are fully coloured in a painterly fashion. He worked at home and was not involved with the technical aspects of printmaking.

From an interview with Aliknak’s wife, Elizabeth Banksland, by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 12, 2000

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Two Men Hunting a Bear

Harry Egotak was born while his family was living on Banks Island. His mother is the artist, Flossie Papidluk (1904-1994), and his father is her first husband, Akoakhion. Egotak’s earliest memories are of the Read Island area when his father was still alive. His parents travelled and camped in different places, joining up with other groups for a year or two and then going their separate ways. Egotak’s wife is from a small island off Berkeley Point. They married in 1950, when they were near Minto Inlet, moving to Berkeley Point in 1953 and later to Holman, having heard about the outpost and the many Inuit who were settling there.

Egotak was one of the original group of five who made prints in the early 1960s. He recalls the resourcefulness of the group — making do with what they had, in the absence of professional artists’ printmaking tools. They began their printmaking experiments in a little building behind the Co-op store. They found the dried skins of the sealskin stencils to be quite stiff, so they took off the fur and fat to make them softer. They cut out the images with men’s razors and used toothbrushes and shaving brushes to apply the ink The ends of the shaving brushes, too soft for stencilling, were cut to make the tips stiffer.

Two Men Hunting a Bear, made in May 1962, is Egotak’s first print. It is shown with its sealskin stencil . The early printmakers became comfortable using their brushes on small pieces of paper. When they first started there were few ink colours - black, blue, and white and images were printed in one colour.

In 1964, the group began working on stonecuts from limestone that was quarried from Minto Inlet.

Egotak continued with the Co-op as the most productive printmaker until his retirement in 1987. He printed drawings for all Holman artists over the years: 172 catalogued and 17 uncatalogued prints between 1964 and 1987, only three of which were from his own original drawings.

From an interview with Harry Egotak by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 9, 2000

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Preparing Skins
River Fishing

Victor Ekootak was a founding member of the Holman Co-operative and one of the first artists to make drawings and prints in the early 1960s. He was known for his drawing skills and he created a series of drawings for the Catholic mission on linoleum depicting the events of the crucifixion of Christ. The series still hangs on the walls of the chapel/museum in Holman. The 1965 and 1966 annual collections include twelve of Ekootak’s prints. Four of his drawings were printed in later years. He was a skilled carver and turned those skills to making stonecuts in 1964. His sudden death in 1965 came as a blow to Father Tardy and the other pioneer printmakers. Tardy later wrote: "With Ekootak’s death, we lost the leader of our Art craftsmen." (Inuktitut, 1979)

Ekootak was born in the Prince Albert Sound area and married Nereonak, who became well known for her sealskin tapestries. They spent much of their time in the Read Island area, south of Wollaston Peninsula. When Ekootak began working for the Co-op in 1961, he travelled to Holman from Read Island. The family moved into the community on the HBC boat when the Read Island post was relocated to Holman in 1962.

Ekootak is the patriarch of an artistic family. His son-in-law, Patrick Akovak Klengenberg (1944-1976), is a sculptor, artist and printmaker; and his daughter, Elsie Klengenberg, is one of the leading stencil artists in Holman. Ekootak’s grandchildren, Helen and Stanley Klengenberg (1964-1999), are known for their prints and drawings.

From an interview with Ekootak’s daughter, Elsie Klengenberg, by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 9, 2000

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Julia Ekpakohak
Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak
Photo: Darlene Coward Wight.

Children Playing Games at Daycare
Big Brother Pulling Sister on Bicycle

When Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak was a young child she was taught to draw by her grandmother, well-known Holman artist Helen Kalvak. In the evenings her grandmother would tell stories and ask Julia to draw them on paper. Julia recalls that her grandmother encouraged her artwork as a way to make a living: "she told me if I had no job and didn’t know how to support my family I could make money on drawings."

Having drawn since she was eight years old, Julia learned printmaking in 1999. She was first introduced to the stencilling technique, but has recently turned her attentions to acid-free etching. Julia prefers etching because she says it is "more like drawing." In addition to stories from the past, Julia’s drawings and prints often show images of contemporary life in Holman, especially children at play.

Julia is now teaching and encouraging her own children to draw.

From an interview with Julia Manoyok Ekpakohak by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 8, 2000

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MARK EMERAK 1901-1983

Winter and Summer Hunt (Ukiomilo Aoyamilo Angoniaktut)
The Shaman Seeks an Answer (Kilayok)
The Great Whirlpool (Kalaniyaaktok)

Mark Emerak was an elder when he began drawing in 1966. Unlike the women who were accustomed to making two-dimensional designs in skin clothing, the practice of putting his ideas down on paper was alien to a man who had spent his life on the land, hunting and fishing.

Of the 900 drawings made by Emerak from 1966 to 1983, 41 were made into stonecuts, stencils, or lithographs. Emerak never did any printing. His work was translated into prints by others. Further print translations of his work were produced in the Memorial Portfolio of 1987, after his death.

Emerak spent his early years in the Cambridge Bay area, on the southeastern coast of Victoria Island. His family relocated to the Minto Inlet area for its rich hunting. After only one year of marriage, Emerak lost his wife to another man, in a show of strength that was somewhat common amongst the Copper Inuit. Many prints illustrate the contests and outright battles that would sometimes determine marital matches (Fight for a Woman). Emerak later married Udyok, with whom he had ten children. When Udyok became ill in the early 1950s, the family moved to Holman and they remained in the settlement after her death.

Emerak’s imagery is a rich record of the artist’s life on the land. Even after the family moved into Holman, he continued to go out hunting and fishing. His daughter, Mary Uyaraktek, recalls that until 1983, he went to his camp on a nearby lake by himself for months at a time. Emerak’s drawings show the seasonal changes of the migratory lifestyle, and the traditional ways of working and playing. Representations of groups of people reflect the communal aspect of this lifestyle. Emerak’s penchant for tightly organized compositions accentuates the many rituals and taboos that governed Inuit life on the land. He was particularly interested in shamanic activities such as head lifting, as depicted in the print, Shaman Seeks an Answer (Kilayok).

From an interview with Emerak’s daughter, Mary Uyaraktek, by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, November 2000 unless stated otherwise.

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Agnes Nanogak Goose
Agnes Nanogak Goose
Photo: Alex Poruchnyk.


Land Mark of the North
The Right Dream (Hinnaktoktok)
Blind Boy

The community of Holman was saddened in May 2001 by the loss of one of its most prominent artists, Agnes Nanogak Goose. Agnes Nanogak Goose was a strong artistic presence at Holman and her work was a mainstay in the print collection. Since 1967, when her first prints were published, a total of 159 of her drawings have been translated into prints. Best known to southern collectors by her Inuit name Nanogak, she also used the surname of her late husband Wallace Goose to sign her work. Her son, Billy Goose, used the distinctive chop of a goose to mark his prints and drawings in the 1960s. Billy’s son, Rex Goose, is a talented carver and graphic artist.

Nanogak’s roots lie in the Western Arctic. Her father, Natkutsiak (Billy Banksland) came from Nome, Alaska and her mother, Topsy Ekiona, grew up in the Mackenzie Delta region, near Tuktoyaktuk. Her father worked as a harpoonist on whaling boats, and sailed with explorer, Viljáhimir Stefánsson, as he attempted to find the Northwest Passage from the west. Natkutsiak and Ekiona married and travelled between Baillie Island in the Tuktoyaktuk area and Banks Island where a trading post allowed them to take advantage of trapping and trading opportunities.

Nanogak and her brother, Alec Aliknak Banksland, were born on Baillie Island. The family relocated to Sachs Harbour on Banks Island, and later moved to the present site of Holman on Queen’s Bay in 1934, when Nanogak was nine years old. No other families lived there at the time. Everyone else was camping at Minto Inlet or Walker Bay. Nanogak remembers how different everything was, particularly the dialect and the clothing. It was a rich sealing area and the family remained there. Nanogak’s mother passed away in 1943 and her father died in 1949. In 1947, she married Wallace Goose from the Tuktoyaktuk and Kugluktuk (Coppermine) areas.

Nanogak’s father made drawings when she was young, stimulating artistic interest in both Nanogak and her brother, Aliknak. Intrigued by the drawings and prints of the early 1960s, Nanogak decided to try drawing. Father Tardy laughed when he saw her first efforts in 1964. He told her there was something missing and he encouraged her to take the drawing home for completion. Nanogak recalls that he would not tell her what was wrong with it. Another drawing of a smiling human face was made and shown to Tardy. This time he pronounced it a finished drawing. Nanogak then realized she had neglected to draw pupils in the eyes of her earlier figures, making them effectively blind. Tardy was to give her much support, indicating that her narrative drawings based on the stories of her youth were powerful and rich expressions.

The stories and drum dance songs that Nanogak learned as a child were her favourite drawing themes. With Jimmy and Nora Memorana, she taught songs from the Mackenzie Delta area to young people in the community. Today, adults and children perform these "Western-style" songs and dances in semi-weekly drum dances at the community hall.

Nanogak’s earliest drawings were made with graphite pencil, but when felt tip pens became available about 1970, she delighted in making fully coloured drawings. She first employed colour as a notational device to guide the printmakers, but colour soon became an integral part of the drawing.

Nanogak recognized the ability of her images to tell stories, and was frustrated that the Art Shop suspended printmaking activities for the year 2001 due to financial difficulties. Diagnosed with lung cancer in late 2000, she felt the urgency to continue her work which she believed would "help people remember the stories."

A solo exhibition of Nanogak's drawings opens at The Winnipeg Art Gallery on December 5, 2002. It will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue and video.

From an interview with Agnes Nanogak Goose by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, November 2000

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Pulling up the Whales

Rex Goose is best known as a carver, but he has been active in the graphic arts at Holman since 1978. He is from a family of artists. His father, Bill Goose (1943-1989) made drawings and prints in the early 1960s, and his grandmother is the well-known artist Agnes Nanogak Goose (1925-2001). He recounts being "overwhelmed" by all the people making art when he was growing up. His ambition was to become an artist as well. His drawings have been made into prints for annual collections since 1982.

Goose specializes in miniature carvings. He makes these from ivory, antler, whalebone, and more recently, from the white alabaster that was discovered 100 kilometres from Holman in 1997. He has had two solo exhibitions of his sculpture at Northern Images in Yellowknife in 1994 and 1996.

From an interview with Rex Kangoak Goose by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 2000

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William Kagyut
William Kagyut
Photo: Darlene Coward Wight.


Bear and Huntress

William Kagyut made prints and drawings in the early 1960s. His interest in carving was catalyzed during the latter years of his ten-year stay (from 1953 to 1963) in Edmonton’s Charles Camsell Hospital. A song by Kagyut, relating to his illness, is now sung and performed regularly by the "Central-style" drum dance group in Holman. The song came to him in a dream when he was in the hospital. He dreamt of an elder who told him that he would be cured if he learned a song. The elder sang the song to him three times, and told him that when he awoke he had to sing the song to get cured. The song begins: "I’m so happy! I am finally getting better from my sickness. I’ve been sick for many years. I will finally be able to go home." He did get better after singing the song.1,2

Kagyut employed his carving skills to produce stonecuts for the Co-op from 1964 to 1968. He also made drawings during this period, four of which were used to create prints for the first collection in 1965. Kagyut’s drawings were used to make prints as late as 1987.

From an interview with William Kagyut by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 2000

* Kagyut’s birth date on his birth certificate is given as 1922, but this is incorrect.

1 See No. 25 in Soapstone and Seed Beads: Arts and Crafts at the Charles Camsell Hospital, A Tuberculosis Sanatorium, by Annalisa R. Staples and Ruth L. McConnell, 42.
2 Song explained in November, 2000, by Laura Inuktalik, co-ordinator of the Central-style dance group.

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Helen Kalvak
Helen Kalvak
Photo: Bernadette Driscoll Engelstad.
HELEN KALVAK 1901-1984

Untitled (Two People Dancing)
Shooting Ducks
Underwater Fishing
Don’t Be So Noisy
Game in Snowhouse

Helen Kalvak was one of the founding members of the Holman Eskimo Co-operative in 1961. She made drawings until 1978, when Parkinson’s disease robbed her of the use of her hands. Between 1965 and 1985, her drawings were made into prints for the annual collections. A memorial portfolio of six prints was published in 1987.1 Kalvak’s 176 published prints are the largest body of published work by any Holman artist. In 1975, Kalvak was honoured by induction into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA). She was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1978.

Kalvak was born at Tahiryuak Lake in the interior of Victoria Island, to her father, Halukhit and mother, Enataomik. The family lived in the area around Prince Albert Sound, and travelled north to Minto Inlet to spend a year or two with other families in the area. In winter they lived in igloos on the sea ice, hunting seals at breathing holes. In summer they fished and hunted caribou inland, along the shores of lakes and rivers.

Kalvak’s father was a respected angakuq who taught his daughter much about the angakuq’s special knowledge and abilities. She learned of the angakuq’s power over the animals who would eventually become his or her helpers.2 Kalvak’s drawings are infused with the stories that she learned from her parents. Of particular interest are the references to the angakuqs’ specialized skills of transformation, and the angakuqs’ animal assistants. Although her daughter, Nilgak, does not acknowledge her as a shaman, Kalvak is credited with having special healing skills and esoteric knowledge for use in helping others.

Kalvak married Edward Manayok, a man widely admired for his exceptional singing and drum dancing abilities. The older residents of Holman still recall the impressive performances of husband and wife in their skin dance parkas, sewn by Kalvak.3 Many of Kalvak’s drawings and prints depict drum dancers wearing traditional parkas and loon dance caps.

Edward Manayok died suddenly in 1960, possibly of a brain aneurysm, when the family was living at Walker Bay. Shortly after, Father Tardy recognized Kalvak’s artistic talent:

I was then taking practical lessons in the Eskimo language from a superb grandmother, Helen Kalvak, collecting stories of the past. Sometimes to explain, she would make a drawing. One day I asked her to make me an Eskimo parka out of caribou hide and, contrary to Eskimo fashion, she drew a design of it. She was on her way to becoming a remarkable artist, with many designs to her credit.4

Elsie Nilgak, discussed her mother’s early drawing activity:

When they were trying to start the Co-op my mother was given drawing paper to make drawings. She would make drawings when we were at our outpost camp at Walker Bay [on the coast north of Minto Inlet]. The drawings would show the way people used to dress and live. She did drawings for some of the sealskin tapestries also. There were about five women, including my mother, who sewed sealskins for the Co-op. I still remember the first drawings and designs by my mother for kamiks, parkas, mitts, and other craft items. There were about five women who made sealskin clothing and mats. I remember coming into Holman in the summer by boat to sell some of my mother’s finished drawings and I would get more art supplies to take back for her. This was after my father passed away [in 1960].

Kalvak’s drawings were used for sealskin stencil experiments in 1962. Kalvak’s estimated 1800 drawings, made between 1962 and 1978, are immeasurable contributions to the cultural and artistic heritage of her people. They form part of the archives established in Holman by Father Tardy to safeguard the artistic heritage of the artists.

From an interview with Kalvak’s daughter, Elsie Nilgak, by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 11, 2000, translated by Mary K. Okheena

1Holman Eskimo Co-operative, Kalvak/Emerak: Memorial Catalogue, 1987
2Copper Inuit angakuqs could be men or women.
3 Many of Kalvak’s songs were recorded by Elsie Nilgak, and these have been used to teach the younger people of the community.
4 Tardy, Inuktitut, 70.

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Elsie Klengenberg
Elsie Klengenberg
Photo: Alex Poruchnyk.

Three Brothers Learning Together
Big and Small

Elsie Klengenberg was one of the first artists to learn and develop the stencilling technique that is used to great effect in Holman today.1 She is a member of a family that is well known in the western Arctic, for historical as well as artistic reasons. Her father, Victor Ekootak (1916-1965), was one of the pioneer artists in the early 1960s. Her husband, Patrick Akovak Klengenberg (1944-1976), is the son of Jørgen Klengenberg, and the grandson of Christian (Charlie) Klengenberg, a whaler turned trapper.2 Two of Elsie’s children, Helen and Stanley Klengenberg (1964-1999), are also artists.

Elsie grew up in the Read Island area but moved to Holman via Kugluktuk when the Read Island HBC post relocated in 1962.3 A number of other families relocated to Holman from Read Island; still others moved to Kugluktuk.

The artmaking activities of her father and husband interested Elsie, and she was encouraged by Father Tardy to make drawings. He purchased them for 50 cents or one dollar. If he didn’t buy one, she went home, erased all the pencil lines, and made another drawing for sale. In 1980, she started working in the printshop and was given help by Mary K. Okheena to learn the stencil technique. Mabel Nigiyok began the following year and the three women worked creatively and cooperatively in developing the sophisticated stencil method of mylar overlays to create layers of colour and tonality in their work.

In 1995, Klengenberg moved to Inuvik for a year to take a fine arts course at Aurora College. In October/November 1997, she participated in a two-week, pan-Arctic Women’s Workshop at the Ottawa School of Art and was one of three Inuit women artists featured on "Adrienne Clarkson Presents."4 From 1998 to 2000, she attended Arctic College courses in jewelry making with her partner, Joseph Haluksit, at the Cambridge Bay campus. Klengenberg has given workshops in the stencilling technique. In 1999 she demonstrated her skills at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, in conjunction with an exhibition, Elsie Klengenberg: Legend of Uvajuq. Elsie continues to create her delicate tonal prints, which captivate visitors to the community.

From an interview with Elsie Klengenberg by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 9, 2000

1 The practice of taking a father or husband’s name as a surname was not adopted by the Inuit of Holman until the mid-1960s. Elsie used her personal name, Anaginak, on her early graphics.
2 Charlie Klengenberg’s exploits are immortalized in a colourful autobiography, Klengenberg of the Arctic.
3 Elsie went to Kugluktuk to await the arrival of her first child, Robert, and then she followed the others to Holman.
4 "Women’s Work," Adrienne Clarkson Presents. CBC, 1997: 60 minutes, telecast nationally on November 12, 1997.

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Caribou Run
Quarrel for a Seal

Patrick Akovak printed many of his own drawings from 1966 until his premature death in 1976 at the age of 32. His drawings remained a source of prints for the Co-op until 1987. Many of his imaginative drawings depict stories he heard as a child.

Akovak was born at Rymer Point north of Kugluktuk. His parents later moved to Read Island where he met his wife, artist Elsie Klengenberg. They moved to Holman on the HBC boat with Bill Joss in 1962, and Akovak began carving with the encouragement of Father Tardy. In the 1968 print catalogue, Tardy characterized Akovak as "primarily a sculptor, but lately he has started drawing and his drawings depict clear-cut designs and are always full of originality."

Akovak is the father of Helen and Stanley Klengenberg and the brother of Mona Ohoveluk.

From an interview with Akovak’s wife, Elsie Klengenberg, by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 9, 2000

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Cold and Hungry
Drawing for Cold and Hungry

Stanley Klengenberg is the third generation of an artistic family. He is the grandson of Victor Ekootak (1916-1965) and the son of Elsie and Patrick Akovak Klengenberg. By the mid-1980s, he was one of the most promising artists in Holman. He won a poster commission from Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada in 1985.1 His life was cut short by his tragic suicide. His interest in art is reflected in the following passage from an autobiography, written at the time of the poster commission:

During the winter, my parents would draw pictures and I would sit beside them and watch as images of the past developed. At this season, school would be underway and drawing was always my favourite subject…. When I was around ten I brought my first drawing to the Artshop. I was excited and scared at the same time. Excited because I would be getting money, and scared because they might laugh at my drawing…. At high school in Yellowknife, I had to take courses that were mandatory, but always there was art. Mrs. Fulton taught me shading, perspective, and things like that.2

In 1982, Klengenberg’s first drawing was printed for the annual collection. By 1986 that number had increased to seven. He left the printing of his images to others, so it is relevant to see Klengenberg’s work in its original form - as graphite drawings. The drawing for the artist’s best known print, Cold and Hungry, was stencilled by his mother Elsie.3 This dark, unromanticized image with gaunt, starved face is one of the most unique and haunting works to be created in Holman.

Klengenberg’s nostalgic longing for an earlier, simpler way of life is made manifest in his autobiographical writing from 1985:

The happiest period of my life I can remember are the times I was 6 to 7 years old. In those days, in the 60s, life was more simple than it is today, 1980s…. With the introduction of English and the Southern society, even now I would choose the time when a man must take his dogteam, be gone for days hunting, just to feed his family. The struggle of those times bonded a community…. In my childhood, my father hunted for a living. In the winter he would trap for foxes and in the summer and spring he would hunt for seals…Living then at Holman, times would get hard and my dad found odd jobs in town. At one time, a carpenter, and others at the Artshop. Both my mom and dad were skilled as artists. Stone cutting and carving were my dad’s favourites.4

The loss of his father in 1976 had a profound effect on Klengenberg: "My father’s self-inflicted death in 1976 leaves me to this day lonely and empty. To me, he is the inspiration of my work."5

Klengenberg’s mother, Elsie, recalled her son’s artistic abilities in an interview in 2000.6 She would often draw at home and Stanley would draw alongside her. He would be able to put his ideas down on paper more quickly than his mother. He reminded her of a snowbird, with its quick movements.

The artist’s drawings were inspired by the life of his ancestors, and by respect for their determined fight to survive.

1 The poster accompanied an exhibition of sculpture, Sanaugasi Takujaksat, which toured thirteen Inuit communities in 1985. It was curated by Darlene Coward Wight for Canadian Arctic Producers.
2 Unpublished autobiography.
3This print was mistakenly attributed to Mary K. Okheena in the 1986 print catalogue.
4 Unpublished autobiography.
5 Artist quoted in Annalisa R. Seagrave, "Regenerations," 7.
6 Interview with DCW, Holman, May 2000.

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Peter Malgokak
Peter Malgokak
Photo: Alex Poruchnyk.

Playful Young Bulls

Peter Malgokak was born in the Berkeley Point area, at the northernmost camp on west Victoria Island. He is the son of Malgokak and Alikamik. His brother, Joseph Kitekudlak, is also a carver. The family moved to Holman in 1966 when his father became ill.

Peter Malgokak worked for the Co-op during his late teens, and began carving in 1975. He utilized his carving skills in the production of stonecut prints between 1977 and 1992. In 1992, he was forced to give up the strenuous activity of stonecut printmaking, due to a broken back from a construction injury. Several of Malgokak’s drawings have been published over the years. Today, he has resumed drawing and is active in community social development.

From an interview with Peter Malgokak by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, November 18, 2000

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Susie Malgokak
Susie Malgokak
Photo: Alex Poruchnyk.

Two Friends Fishing

Susie Malgokak grew up in the Minto Inlet area. At the age of six, Malgokak, her sister, and cousin were taken by airplane to attend boarding school in Inuvik. She returned to her family’s outpost camp after a year, having learned to speak English. In 1965, the family was urged to move into the community and the children attended school the following year.

Over the last decade, Malgokak has matured as a stencil specialist. She printed a drawing by her husband, Peter Malgokak, for the 1989 collection, The Hungry Fox, and in 1992 she began printing her own drawings. She has created 32 published prints since she began work in the Art Shop. Her sister, Mabel Nigiyok, and her brother, Peter Palvik, have also been steady contributors to collections in the last decade. For the last two years, she has been Manager of the Art Shop.

From an interview with Susie Malgokak by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, November 18, 2000

Interview with Susie Malgokak

Video interview with Susie Malgokak.

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Roberta Memogana
Roberta Memogana
Photo: Darlene Coward Wight.

Tools of the North

Roberta Memogana is one of the newer artists to learn the craft of drawing and printmaking at Holman.1 She watched her father, Jimmy Memorana, make drawings when she was a child. He would sometimes give her bits of paper to work on. She began drawing seriously in 1981, and started working at the Art Shop as a printmaker in the mid-1990s. Encouraged by her sister, Mary K. Okheena, she began to learn the stencil process. In 1997, she printed one of her own drawings, Igloo of Life, and a drawing by her father, Stalking a Seal. She has printed three more of her own drawings since then.

Memogana has attended art workshops in Inuvik and Ottawa, and continues to develop her skills.

From an interview with Roberta Memogana by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 8, 2000

1 The name "Memorana" was spelled incorrectly as "Memogana" on Roberta’s birth certificate, and she and her children have continued to use that "official" spelling.

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Louie Nigiyok
Louie Nigiyok
Photo: Alex Poruchnyk.

Works printed by Nigiyok in the exhibition are:

Children Playing Games at Daycare
Big Brother Pulling Sister on Bicycle
Two Eagles
Bear Tracks
The Great Whirlpool (Kalaniyaaktok)

Louie Nigiyok began working as a printmaker for the print shop in 1981, at the same time as his mother, Mabel Nigiyok. He continues today as one of the foremost interpreters of drawings by other artists. In the early 1980s, he learned the stonecut technique from Harry Egotak and John Rose, and later began working with stencils when these became the preferred print form. Elsie Klengenberg, Mary K. Okheena and Mabel Nigiyok were making stencils in the early 1980s, and they needed help producing the editions of 50 prints. Nigiyok helped ink the prints, and after learning to cut the mylar stencils, undertook the entire process himself. Since 1981, Nigiyok has translated 96 drawings into prints for the annual collections.

From an interview with Louie Nigiyok by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, November 21, 2000

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Mabel Nigiyok
Mabel Nigiyok
Photo: Alex Poruchnyk.

It’s Not Hard
Arctic Spirits
The Death Game

Mabel Nigiyok began learning stencil printmaking in the Holman printshop in 1981, and her work was published the following year. She has since become one of its most productive artists and printmakers, with 63 of her drawings produced as prints. She has printed 39 works, many of them her own.

Nigiyok was born in the Cook River area, and her family made seasonal trips between the Minto Inlet coastline in winter and the inland lakes and rivers in the summer. Her family didn’t move into Holman until the school was built in 1966. While still living on the land she began sewing sealskin mats for the Co-op.

In her Introduction to the 1994 print catalogue, Nigiyok described her artistic beginnings:

In 1981 I started working at the print shop…. Elsie Klengenberg and I were working together. We didn’t have any training, we learned by watching other people working and finishing up their work which was supposed to be done. At that time there were no shadings on the prints. Elsie and I would discuss how to put shadings on them and it was the first time there was a change on the prints. When I first started working I used to do other people’s drawings. I started drawing on my own. I’d draw what my parents went through long ago.

The significant formal change that took place in Holman prints in the early 1980s was the result of the artists’ decision to abandon the stonecut technique for prints. Environmental concerns about dust made stencil printing a more attractive and feasible alternative. The 1980/81 collection included eleven stencil editions. That number increased to 17 by 1986. The simple stencil technique developed in the early 1980s was refined by the mid-1980s to allow for subtle tonal gradations from light to dark, creating three-dimensional illusions within the narrative space of the prints. This has become a hallmark of the Holman style, as seen in the work of Mabel Nigiyok, Elsie Klengenberg, Mary K. Okheena and Susie Malgokak.

In a video interview in November 2000, Nigiyok explained that she was inspired by the stories she heard from her parents and grandparents. Like Agnes Nanogak Goose, she has a tremendous capacity to recall and represent these stories in great detail, as evidenced by her description of the story for her 1989 print, The Death Game. Her works are inspired by her early life on the land.

From interviews with Mabel Nigiyok by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 9, 2000 (translated by Mary K. Okheena) and November 2000 (translated by Susie Malgokak)

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Greedy Giant

Ohoveluk is the granddaughter of Christian (Charlie) Klengenberg.1 She grew up at Rymer Point, south of Read Island. As the mother of seven children, she created her drawings late at night when her children were asleep.2

Drawings by Mona Ohoveluk have served as the inspiration for prints by Holman printmakers from 1968 until 1991. Most of the 47 prints made from her drawings were printed by others, although she printed 17 works over the years. Okheena remembers that Ohoveluk encouraged her to use her imagination. Many of her works are animated and figures are involved in energetic activity.

From an interview with Mary K. Okheena by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 2000

1See biographical entry for Elsie Klengenberg.
2 Holman Eskimo Co-operative, 1968 print catalogue.

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Mary K Okheena
Mary K. Okheena
Photo: Darlene Coward Wight.

Supplies Brought at Last
Bear Tracks
My Ancestors Were Here
Shaman Dances to Northern Lights

Mary K. Okheena has worked for the Holman print shop since 1977, longer than any other artist or printer currently working.1 To date, 74 of her drawings have been made into prints, and she printed 36 of these herself. She has also printed 31 drawings by other artists.

Okheena was born at the old townsite of King’s Bay in 1957 to parents, Jimmy and Nora Memorana. Her father, who was born in the Tuktoyaktuk area, was orphaned by a flu epidemic as a child. His uncle Billy Banksland, the father of Agnes Nanogak Goose, adopted him. Nora Memorana, from the Minto Inlet area , was also orphaned by a flu epidemic and adopted by an uncle. Both Jimmy and Nora Memorana are respected drum dancers who have taught their skills to younger generations.

Okheena learned English at Charles Camsell Hospital, Edmonton, where she was treated for tuberculosis for two and a half years as a young child. She was always interested in drawings, having watched her father, Jimmy Memorana, one of the founding members of the Holman Co-op, and her aunt, Agnes Nanogak Goose make their work. After Mary made some initial drawings and a large embroidery design for the church, Father Tardy invited her to help with stencil printing for the print shop.

I learned things from all the artists. It was almost like a family. There was Elsie Klengenberg, Mona Ohoveluk, Harry [Egotak], Mabel Nigiyok, Peter Palvik. We would talk about each of the drawings, what it meant, what it meant to a printer and to an artist. Everyone had their own techniques of printing, and I learned by watching.2

Mary’s involvement with the print shop was intermittent from 1977 to 1982, the period during the birth and infancy of her two oldest children. In 1982, she resumed her artwork with a more sustained focus, and in 1986 she printed three of her own drawings. Okheena is often inspired by the facial expressions of children and the challenge of interpreting these and other human subjects in her work. She does not reproduce the traditional stories that she heard as a child, noting that she never heard the end of the bedtime stories because she fell asleep before the stories ended. Okheena has developed her own form of narrative storytelling. Her scenes with human figures are full of humour and movement, at times bursting from the bounds of the paper as in Shaman Dances to Northern Lights. Several works, such as My Ancestors Were Here, use culturally symbolic images, such as the inukshuk, as an organizing motif for the composition. With the stark black and white woodcut, Bear Tracks, Okheena reveals her skills as a designer. The clever interplay of negative and positive space is integrated within a complex interplay of line and form.

From an interview with Mary K. Okheena by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 11, 2000

1Okheena’s birth date has previously been given incorrectly as 1955. She now uses a middle initial for her Inuit name, Kapbak, to distinguish herself from several others in Holman who have the same name.
2 From an interview with Mary K. Okheena, May 11, 2000.

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Peter Palvik
Peter Palvik
Photo: Alex Poruchnyk.

Skin Covered Iglu
Wolves and Caribou
Fall Trek to the Sea Ice
Aya-ya (Song & Dance)
Ulukhaktok "Holman Bluff"

Peter Palvik grew up in the Minto Inlet area. His family moved into Holman in the mid-1960s when he was old enough to go to school. His father, Albert Palvik, was active in the Co-op and community work. In 1978, Peter began receiving instruction in lithography from print shop manager John Rose, and later he worked with visiting art advisor, David Umholtz. From 1980 to 2000 he printed 61 drawings by others. In 1989, he began printing his own drawings and has created 33 to date. He is now the lithography specialist at the Holman Art Shop, printing mainly his own drawings.

Palvik’s drawings include a multitude of details, revealing his stated admiration for both the stylistic and thematic concerns of Alec Banksland and Stanley Klengenberg. Lithography, with its immediate translation of the artist’s drawn line, allows Palvik to achieve precision in his own work. He particularly enjoys depicting animals in naturalistic settings.

From an interview with Peter Palvik by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 10, 2000

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Flossie Papidluk
Flossie Papidluk
Photo courtesy of Margaret Kanayuk.

Fight for a Woman

Papidluk was born in the Prince Albert Sound area, near Read Island. Her first husband, Akoakhion, the father of Harry Egotak, died young. Her second husband, Harry Niakoalok, the father of Margaret Kanayuk and Joseph Haluksit, died in Holman after an illness in 1959/1960. The family remained in Holman and Papidluk did not return to traditional camp life, supporting herself instead through a range of arts and crafts activities.

Papidluk made her first drawings when Barry Coomber visited the community as an art advisor in 1964. She continued to make occasional drawings over the years. Birds are her favourite subjects. She left the printing of her drawings to others at the print shop. Between 1966 and 1984, eleven of her works have been translated into prints for the annual collections. According to her daughter Margaret Kanayuk, sewing interested Papidluk much more than drawing. Kanayuk recalls her mother sewing continuously, producing a steady stream of mitts, kamiks, small tapestries, and stuffed animals made from sealskin.

From an interview with Flossie Papidluk’s daughter, Margaret Kanayuk, by Darlene Coward Wight, Holman, May 11, 2000

* Papidluk’s birth date was given incorrectly as 1916 in the 1968 print catalogue.

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