The United Nations has declared 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives, with the theme “Co-operative enterprises build a better world.” In Canada’s north, the “craft shop” constructed in Cape Dorset in 1956 led to a pan-Arctic co-operative development program that now supports thirty-one community co-operatives across Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
The West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in Cape Dorset was the first to be incorporated under the federal program in 1959. Wholly owned by the Inuit residents of the community, the Co-operative model made possible their active participation in all aspects of community development. In Cape Dorset, one of the most important elements of community life is this unique art form that has sustained both the economy and culture of the people and captured the imagination of the world.
Since the release of the first catalogued print collection in 1959, the annual print collection has been the mainstay of the Kinngait Studios. This year’s collection of thirty images represents twelve artists, including three newcomers.
In honour of this International Year of Co-operatives, this annual print collection is dedicated to the members, boards of directors, management and staff of the Cooperative — both past and present — who have supported the graphic arts studios over these past fifty-three years with purpose and conviction. There is no question that this enterprise at Cape Dorset has helped to build a better and more beautiful world.
Excerpt from exhibition foreword by Leslie Boyd Ryan