Kakulu was born in 1940 on the Hudson’s Bay Company’s supply ship Nascopie, en route from Clyde River to Pangnirtung. At that time, her parents and older brother were members of a small group of Inuit who had traveled from south Baffin to trap and hunt furs in the northern regions of the island. Kakulu was just a small child when she moved back to the Cape Dorset area.
Kakulu began to draw in the early 1960’s when the newly established co-operative introduced its graphic arts program. Many of her images explore the concept of transformation, with animals blending into other animals, humans becoming animals and vice versa. This is an important theme in traditional Inuit folklore and mythology, where the natural and supernatural worlds were mediated by the shaman.
Kakulu’s mother was Ikayukta [Tunnillie] (now deceased), also one of the early contributors to the annual print collections from Cape Dorset. Her older brother was Qavaroak Tunnillie, a prolific and talented sculptor (also deceased). Kakulu is married to Saggiaktok, who for many years was a printmaker in the stonecut studio. He would frequently proof and edition those images by Kakulu which had been chosen for stonecut prints. Kakulu and Saggiaktok live in Cape Dorset with their four children.
—Cape Dorset Print Collection, 2007
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