Centuries of living with relentless nature has taught Canada's Eskimos the value of co-operation. One form of share and share alike in today's changing arctic is the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, operated by and for Eskimo artists and craftsmen. Headquarters are at Cape Dorset on the south coast of bleak Baffin Island -- trading point for over 300 Eskimos. Here, wandering groups of Eskimos in from the hunting grounds for a brief period, sell the primitive art they have created. To maintain the high quality of graphic art stemming from the imagination, folklore and way of life of native inhabitants, the Eskimo cooperative requested advice from art critics in Canada's south. Result: a down-to-earth, critical look at Eskimo graphic art by an independent, voluntary group of six experts. Forming the Canadian Eskimo Art Committee (above) are, from left: Alan Jarvis, former director, National Gallery of Canada, M. F. Feheley, Toronto art collector, Dr. E. Turner, director, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Paul Arthur, noted typographer and art critic, and Norman Hallendy, designer and editor. Julien Hebert, industrial designer, is not present. Their task: to examine new graphic art designs, evaluate artistic merit, help keep this aspect of arctic culture fresh and appealing, suggest selling prices and generally advise Eskimo artists and the federal department of Northern Affairs on Eskimo art. Destined for public showing at the annual exhibit of Eskimo Art in April are 83 prints selected by the committee, the first to bear their seal of endorsement, [see reproduction of photostory], Eskimo syllabics for approved.
© National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa