Elijah Michael · Pauloosie Michael · Pee Michael · Pitsiulak Michael · Matto Michael
The Michael Family (Lake Harbour)
It is not uncommon for several members of an extended Inuit family to product artwork. It is more unusual to have every family member within a single family do so cnosistently and over a period of several years. The sculpture of Kimmirut (Lake Harbour) has become synonymous with that of the Michael's: Elijah, his deceased wife Annie, and their many talented sons.
This exhibition features the works of Elijah Michael and that of his sons Pee, Pitsiulak, and Matto. All have established individual reputations, while exhibiting a related style and attitude to art making. Consistent with the South Baffin aesthetic, their bold and dramatic works are characterized by large thrusting masses and strong gestures. Also in evidence is a concern for detail and fine finish.
Pee specializes in seals and birds, and the majestic walrus. Pitsiulak and Matto favour the polar bear, rendered either as a stalking hunter, or as a fanciful and highly animated dancer. Aspects of traditional life have always featured strongly in the work of the Michael's. Robust drummers, arms upraised as they prepare to beat their drums and sing out ageless songs provide testament to enduring ways. With harpoons in hand, hunters prepare to strike with strength and courage in their never ending quest for survival.
The work of Elijah features many of those qualities, but a subtle shift occurs. In this elder's hands, the drummer is more serene, as though caught in a timeless moment. The forms are softer, almost gentle. Common to many older artists, is a tendency towards simplification and stylization. With their emphasis on line, simple broad volumes and symbolic effects, Elijah's sculpture at times evokes that of the Cape Dorset masters.
Gallery Phillip is pleased to present this exhibition in memory of Annie Michael.
Phillip Gevik, Director