Inuit Myths, Legends, and Songs


Kivioq, Thomasialuk, Siligtigke, Kaujajuk, Eqatle’joq, and Igimarasugssuaq are the names whose stories are sketched by the descriptive powers of the storyteller. Children and adults gather to hear the adventures unfold:  events of history which have been committed to memory by the one who now speaks. Not everyone can tell the story – there are so many details to remember – but for the one who can, there comes a moment such as this when all activity stops and all thought is transported to events which took place long ago.


The artists whose drawings are presented in this catalogue of the March 12 to May 2, 1982 exhibit presented at The Winnipeg Art Gallery have spent many hours in the company of a storyteller. For some, the stories which they depict in their drawings are ones remembered from childhood. The 1982 exhibit was not a comprehensive survey of Inuit mythology and art.  Instead, it focussed solely on the medium of drawing and presents the works of eight artists who have portrayed the stories, legends and theses of Inuit mythology in their art in a consistent manner.  These artists are Helen Kalvak and Agnes Nanogak from Holman; Ruth Annaqtuusi, Janet Kiguiguq, Myra Kukiiyaut, Victoria Mamnguqsualuk and Nancy Pukingnak from Baker Lake; and Davidialuk from Povungnituk.


The geographical representation of these artists and their familiarity with the stories and legends of their own region allows for comparisons to be made between regional variations of the stories.  A study of a number of the drawings in the exhibition indicates that major legends recur with surprising similarity throughout the Arctic.


Although the stories and legends of Inuit have been recounted for an unknown number of generations, the visual portrayal of these stories dates only to the contemporary period of drawing, printmaking and carving.  The drawings of contemporary artists provide a rich visual illustration of the stories once known only through the oral tradition. Whether the stories are illustrated in a literal or a more abstract manner, they provide the viewer with an extraordinary insight into the cultural history of the Inuit.


Editor: Barbara Latocki

Copyright: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1982

ISBN: 0-88915-104-0


Softcover, 80 pages

In stock

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Weight 0.7500 kg
Dimensions 3.2258 × 59.69 × 77.47 cm