Mary Pudlat


Date of Birth:    May 3, 1923                                          Male/Female:    Female E7-1005                                   
Place of Birth:   Arctic Quebec; Resided, Cape Dorset

Deceased:        February, 2001



“A prolific Canadian Inuit artist, Mary Pudlat retains clear memories of her early years living in the traditional Inuit hunting lifestyle in the area near Povungnituk in Arctic Quebec.  Orphaned as a teenager, she lived for a while with her brother in Ivujivik before moving to Baffin Island in the early 1940’s.  There she married Samuelie Pudlat in 1943 and continued to live in the traditional semi-nomadic camps along the south shore of Baffin Island until she and her husband and children moved permanently to Cape Dorset in 1963.

At the time of Pudlat’s arrival in Cape Dorset the new West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative fine arts program was gaining momentum and she began to explore her own talent for drawing and sculpting in soapstone.  Pudlat’s artwork tentative at first, became increasingly confident.  Like many other Inuit artists she turned to her experience on the land for inspiration, carving and drawing birds, fish, human figures and activities from the traditional culture.  The selection of one of Pudlat’s images of a bear for inclusion into the 1964 – 1965 Cape Dorset Print collection gave her initial encouragement but he demands of her young family and custodial work that she occasionally performed for the Co-operative left her limited time for her art in the following years.  After her husband’s death in 1979, however, and with her children becoming more independent, Pudlat returned to drawing during the 1980’s.”

                                                            Marion E. Jackson
In “North American Women Artists of the Twentieth
Century: A Biographical Dictionary”, 1995.

This 2001 annual print collection is dedicated to the memory of Mary Pudlat, who died in February of this year at the age of seventy-five.  Mary has been a long-time contributor to the annual graphics collections, and an enthusiastic participant in all aspects of the printing program at Cape Dorset.  Her work was typically charming on the surface but often contained complex references to another time and place; the camp scenes of her childhood and the stories she heard as a young girl growing up on the Ungava and South Baffin peninsulas.  She lived to be an old woman and for many years a widow.  She was highly respected in the community and especially loved by the children for her expressed affection, a ready smile and terms of endearment.  She was involved for many years as an elder with the community day-care and created the drawings for a colouring book which was used to raise funds for the Centre.

Mary Pudlat was born in 1926 in Arctic Quebec near the present-day community of Povungnituk.  She migrated to the Cape Dorset area in the early 1940’s, settling in the Cape Dorset area.  Mary married Samuelie Pudlat, a widower with two small children.  His brothers were Pudlo and Osoochiak, both well-known graphic artists. They lived in numerous small camps in the South  Baffin area until Samuelie began full-time, wage employment in 1960 with the newly formed West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative.  At that time, Mary started to draw.  Her first work was published in 1966 and she has contributed work to the annual graphics collection ever since.  She was also commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories to create a large mural to hang in the new Iqaluit Visitor’s Centre which opened in 1991.
Samuelie and Mary both were very supportive of the Co-operative’s development in Cape Dorset; Sam was one of its earliest employees, a position he held until his retirement shortly before his death in 1988.  The community’s new junior school, completed in 1990, is named after him.  Mary’s adopted children are now mature adults (Pitaloosie Saila is Samuelie’s daughter from his first marriage).

Mary is represented for the last time in this collection by three images in three different media; stonecut, lithography and etching/aquatint.  All of these editions were underway at the time of Mary’s death.  Mary was able to sign the lithograph entitled, “Keeper of the Kelp” (2001-17); “Avataq (2001-16) and Tariurmiinngaaqtut” (2001-18) have been signed posthumously by her daughter-in-law, Sana.

                                                                        *West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative”


1965, 1966, 1979, 1980, 1984,                           
Cape Dorset Graphics
1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989,                            (annual collection)
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994                                                     (illustrated catalogue)
1995, 1996

Inoonoot Eskima: Grafik och Skulpur fran Cape Dorset och Povungnituk
Stockholm, Sweden

January – February 1972                                   
INUA: 50 Works from the Cappadocia Collection of Inuit Art
McMaster Art Gallery
Hamilton, Ontario

October – November 1974                                
Eskimo Art
Queen’s Museum
Flushing, New York, U.S.A.
(illustrated catalogue)

October 1981 – January 1983                            
Cape Dorset Engravings
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, circulated by the Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, Ontario
(illustrated brochure)

January 1982                                                    
Drawings: Three Cape Dorset Women
Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia

February – March 1983                                     
Return of the Birds
Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia
(illustrated catalogue)

December 1984 – February 1985                       
The Last and First Eskimos
Museum of Science and History
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.

February 1985 – April 1986                                
Die Kunst aus der Arktis
Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada, Ottawa
Presented by Commerzbank
Frankfurt, Germany
(illustrated catalogue)

May – June 1986                                              
Northern Exposure: Inuit Images of Travel
Burnaby Art Gallery
Burnaby, British Columbia
(illustrated catalogue)

October – November 1987                                
1987 Eskimo Art
Franz Bader Gallery
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

June – September 1988                                    
Building on Strengths: New Inuit Art from the Collection
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, Manitoba

June – July 1989                                              
A New Day Dawning: Early Cape Dorset Prints
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
(illustrated catalogue)

October – November 1990                                
A Woman’s Vision
Art Space Gallery
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

November – December 1990                             
Art Inuit: Autour de la Collection de Cape Dorset 1990
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai
At Centre Cultureal Canadien
Paris, France

February – March 1991                                     
Taste of the Wild
Orca Aart
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

May 1991                                                         
Inuit Music in Art: Singing and Dancing and Playing
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario

August – September 1991
Art Inuit
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai
At Galerie Akenaton
Troyes, France

November – December 1991
Art Inuit: Autour de la Collection de Cape Dorset 1991
Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai
At Le Colombier
Ville D’Avray, France

June – July 1992                                              
Women of the North: An Exhibition of art by Inuit Women of the Canadian Arctic
Marion Scott Gallery
Vancouver, British Columbia
(illustrated catalogue)

October – November 1993                              
Sculpture and Graphics from Cape Dorset
Art Space Gallery
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

November 1993 – January 1994                         
Contemporary Inuit Drawings
Muscarelle Museum of Art
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A.
(illustrated catalogue)

July 1994                                                         
Arctic Spirit
35 Years of Canadian Inuit Art
Frye Art Museum
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

September – October 1994                              
Kunst van de Inuit Eskimo’s
Gemeentelijk Kunstcentrum
Huis Hellemans
Edegem, Belgium
(illustrated brochure)

July - 1995                                                       
Sunakutagnuvalautut: Things from the Past
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario

March – April 1996                                            
Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection of Inuit Art
Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec
Montreal, Quebec

December 1996 – March 1997                          
Beelden uit Arctica
Canadian Eskimo Art
Venray, Netherlands

March 1997                                                      
Inuit and the Sea
Canadian Eskimo Art
Eindhoven, Netherlands

June 1997                                                        
Singing and Dancing and Playing
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario
Collection D’Estampes de Cape Dorset
Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec
Montreal, Quebec

October – November 1999                               
Mary Pudlat: Facing Dorset
Exhibition by John Reeves (Photographer)
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario
(illustrated brochure)

June – September 2000                                    
Arctic Spirit: Canadian Inuit Sculpture
Boise State University
Boise, Idaho, U.S.A.

October 2000                                                   
Cape Dorset Print Collection 2000
West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative
Cape Dorset, Nunavut, N.W.T.

Art by Women: An investigation of Inuit Sculpture and Graphics
Feheley Fine Arts
Toronto, Ontario

Rhythms in Motion
Galerie d’art Vincent
Ottawa, Ontario
(illustrated catalogue)

April, May, 2008                                             
Arctic Wind – An Expression of Naturalism
Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery
Vancouver, British Columbia


February – March 2003                                     
Mary Pudlat Drawings
The Albers Gallery of Inuit Art
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
(illustrated catalogue)


Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
Art Gallery of York University, Downsview, Ontario
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec
Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Inuit Cultural Institute, Rankin Inlet, Northwest Territories
London Regional Art Gallery, London, Ontario
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario
McMaster University Art Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, N.Y., U.S.A.
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario
Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta
University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba


1979     Participated in the first etching workshop at Cape Dorset.

1980     “Etching Portfolio I”. Mary was one of six artists who assembled a special portfolio of prints which is documented in the Cape Dorset Graphic annual catalogue, 1980.

1984     Norgraphics Commission. Mary was one of three artists to produce a collection of limited edition etchings; documented in the Cape Dorset Graphic annual catalogue, 1985.

1987     Norgraphics Limited. Mary was one of several artists whose work was acquired and released by Norgraphics Limited between 1982 and 1986. The works that were selected are documented in the Cape Dorset Graphic annual catalogue, 1987.

2001     Carol Happenstall at Art Space Gallery pulled a limited edition print of “Innugait” by Mary.  The drawing was submitted weeks before her death in February of 2001 and was printed in memory of her.


Art Gallery of Ontario
CAPE DORSET ENGRAVINGS. Toronto, Ont.: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1981.

Jackson, Marion E.
MARY PUDLAT (1932 - ). In North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary/ Garland, 1995.

Marion Scott Gallery
WOMEN OF THE NORTH: AN EXHIBITION OF ART BY INUIT WOMEN OF THE CANADIAN ARCTIC: June 6 – July 11, 1992. Vancouver, B.C.: Marion Scott Gallery, 1992.

Muscarelle Museum of Art (Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A.)
CONTEMPORARY INUIT DRAWINGS: The gift collection of Frederick and Lucy S. Herman. Williamsburg, Va., U.S.A.: The College of William and Mary in Virginia, 1993.

Ryan, Leslie Boyd
CAPE DORSET PRINTS: A Retrospective. Pomegranate, San Francisco, U.S.A., 2007.

Winrob, Harry
NORTHERN EXPOSURE: INUIT IMAGES OF TRAVEL. Toronto, Ont.: Inuit Art Quarterly 1 (2): 12, 1986.

Yaneff Gallery
THE CHARLES GIMPEL COLLECTION OF INNUIT DRAWINGS 1961 – 1966 [SIC]. Toronto, Ont.: The Yaneff Gallery, 1983.