Annie Pootoogook

Almost a year ago, I interviewed a woman who had spent fourteen years living as an Amish person in an Amish community in Ohio; when she left, she began painting scenes from her time there.  The results were a little unpolished, a little creepy (inexplicably, because the scenes were very bucolic), and yet utterly beguiling.  They reminded me of the work of Annie Pootoogook, a Canadian Inuit artist whose paintings of modern First Nations life (domestic abuse, food shopping, watching Dr. Phil–no accounting for taste) ring similar bells.

Pootoogook drowned tragically last month at the age of forty-seven.  Some salient facts: her mother was an artist, and Pootoogook met with some early career success (a prestigious show at Documenta 12, a hefty grant).  After her death, a Canadian police officer made heinous comments about Inuit peoples (basically, they prefer to drink rather than contribute so why should we investigate her death?) on an online message board.  I hope he was fired.  You can learn more about Pootogook here (among other places).  I considered writing about her for a moment, but then I realized I didn’t have much to say other than “more people should know about her.”


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