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Alootook Ipellie: Walking Both Sides of an Invisible Border

Gallery 1C03


Description: Black ink drawing of a man with long hair and glasses (Alootook Ipellie), stands facing the viewer. Framed by two vertical narwhal tusks, he is wearing a western style suit inside the frame. There are tickets to an Elvis Presley concert in one pocket, a pin beside his left lapel shows 4 figures wearing Inuit parkas, and an image beside his right lapel looks like a beer glass that is overflowing. On each side of the frame the man is wearing traditional Inuit parka. He holds a knife dripping with black liquid in his right hand and a harpoon in his left hand. In the background is a curving horizon line with an igloo in the upper left and a person travelling by dog sled team at upper right.

Alootook Ipellie (1951-2007), The Death of Nomadic Life, the Creeping Emergence of Civilization (2007), ink on illustration board. Estate of the artist. Photo by Justin Wonnacott, courtesy Carleton University Art Gallery.

February 27 - March 13, 2020
Curated by Sandra Dyck, Heather Igloliorte and Christine Lalonde

Gallery 1C03 is pleased to host this touring exhibition honouring the work of Inuit artist and writer Alootook Ipellie (1951-2007). Alootook Ipellie was born at Nuvuqquq on Baffin Island and grew up in Iqaluit before moving to Ottawa as a young man. He started working as a translator, illustrator and reporter for Inuit Monthly (renamed Inuit Today) in the early 1970s, and later was its editor. Through his widely read poems, articles and essays, Ipellie gave voice to important cultural, political and social issues affecting Inuit Nunangat, with humour and immense patience.

Ipellie was a prodigious artist, creating hundreds of political cartoons, serial comic strips including “Ice Box” and “Nuna and Vut,”and larger drawings, of which those published in his book Arctic Dreams and Nightmares (1993) are well known. This first retrospective of Alootook Ipellie’s extraordinary work draws from the many aspects of his career, demonstrating the importance and continued relevance of his voice and vision.

This circulating exhibition has been produced by Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario) and has been made possible in part by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. Gallery 1C03 also acknowledges financial assistance from the Department of Canadian Heritage for making it possible to host this exhibition.


NOTE: This exhibition closed early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Gallery 1C03 produced a series of blogposts about the artist and his work in this exhibition from March 18 to April 28, 2020. To begin reading the blogposts, click here. A short exhibition tour video has also been produced (below).

We are also re-scheduling public programming related to the exhibit, including South of Inuit Nunangat: An Online Conversation and a poetry and prose reading.



For more information contact:
Jennifer Gibson, Director/Curator, Gallery 1C03
1st floor, Centennial Hall, The University of Winnipeg
515 Portage Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9
204.786.9253 | j.gibson@uwinnipeg.ca