“Both a draftsperson and a textile artist, Ruth Qaulluaryuk is best known for her lyrical depictions of the Arctic, particularly its abundant wildlife, dense, colorful vegetation, and virgin spaces. Qaulluaryuk has no formal training as an artist, but, like many Inuit women of her generation, she had adapted her traditional sewing skills and aesthetic sensibilities to the making of wall-hangings and drawings.
“Born and raised in the remote Back River area of the Keewatin region of the Northwest Territories, Canada, Qaulluaryuk lived a traditional nomadic existence until the late 1950s, when a severe shortage of land foods led to starvation among the Inuit in the Central Arctic. Qaulluaryuk and her family reluctantly moved to the nearby settlement of Baker Lake in the early 1970s to find relief from the hardships of camp life and to enable the children to go to school. Hers was one of the last families to do so.
“In order to contribute to the family income Qaulluaryuk turned her hand to sewing clothing and craft items for sale to the newly established Arts and Crafts program operated by the federal government…. Qaulluaryuk is the daughter of Baker Lake artist Luke Anguhadluq. Her husband, Josiah Nuilaalik, is also an artist in Baker Lake. They have seven children and numerous grandchildren.”
Excerpt from “North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary”, 1995.
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