“This is my town. I live here and I know this place. I must draw what surrounds me.” Third generation Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook provides an intimate glimpse into her drawings, thoughts and daily life in Cape Dorset, Baffin Island. The documentary follows Annie as prepares and attends her career-defining exhibition at the Power Plant Gallery in Toronto, Ontario.
“My name is Annie Pootoogook. I was born in 1969. I grew up here in Cape Dorset, and I am now an artist.” 1
This half-hour documentary is an intimate portrait of Cape Dorset artist Annie Pootoogook. We come to know her as a woman, a third generation Inuit artist and as a contemporary artist, grounded in the present. Annie describes her process of drawing, shares personal experiences and reflects on her identity as a working artist.
“This is my town. I live here and I know this place. I must draw what surrounds me.” 2
Visuals of the land, domestic interiors and a series of interviews capture Annie’s perspective. First person narrative and video diary approaches are used throughout the documentary. We see Annie working at home and at the Print Shop. We follow Annie to Toronto where she attends her prestigious solo exhibition at The Power Plant Gallery.
“When I’m doing my drawings and I’m thinking of my mother, I can almost feel her presence when I’m doing my art.” 3
Focused on Annie and her work, the film parallels Annie’s own creative process of making and doing. Images of her drawings anchor the film in her art. The transitions, challenges and risks of her life are reflected in her drawings. The shamans, myths and land-based adventures prevalent in the last generation’s prints and drawings are less evident. Annie drawings depict today. Local and global collide in her images: a seal hunt on TV; a video play station dominates a sparsely furnished room, walrus meat is eaten on the floor with a modern kitchen visible in the background.
“I am a Inuk. I speak Inuktitut and I also speak English.” 4
Through Annie, we see the evolving realties of arctic experience and the continuing cultural value of experience, skill, resilience, adaptability, within a community framework of interconnectedness and family. We also experience Annie’s career at a threshold of change as she begins to emerge as a contemporary artist and gain broader audience awareness.
1, 2, 3, 4 Annie Pootogook interview with Marcia Connnolly and Katherine Knight, October 05