Like many artists of her generation, Elisapee Ishulutaq prefers to represent the traditional Inuit way of life that she knew before the transition to permanent settlements. Ishulutaq’s subjects include hunters pulling seals across the sea ice and kayakers paddling close to shore. Themes of Inuit mythology have also appeared in her work. She is especially interested in representing domestic Inuit life, as seen in a series of images depicting families inside igloos and tents. In these largely autobiographical works, Ishulutaq freely combines perspectives, often employing both side views and aerial perspectives in the same image, resulting in compositions marked by a bold formal abstraction.
Elisapee Ishulutaq was born in 1925 at Kagiqtuqjuaq, one of several small seasonal camps situated near Pangnirtung (also known as Panniqtuq) on Baffin Island. In the late 1960s Ishulutuq took up permanent residence in Pangnirtung, becoming involved in the growing community’s new art-making program. Her drawings and prints are included in many private and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Long considered to be one of her community’s most prominent artists, Ishulutaq continues to be artistically active, exploring a range of new media and artistic possibilities.