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
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