The Inuit Gallery is pleased to present a small collection of twelve original drawings by Piona Keyuakjuk of Pangnirtung.
Piona’s drawings are individualistic and reflect a self-taught aesthetic. His drawings, mainly in oil stick in this collection, include details which reflect his keen sense of observation. He has remembered all the stories told to him as a child and he is able to draw on them for his images. Often the drawings have a narrative content and as one can see in the collection, he has an affinity to the colour yellow.
Born in 1964, Piona and his family moved to the outpost camp of Ilungayuq in 1971. He recalls moving around a lot by dog team. In the early 80’s they moved back to Pangnirtung but by the late 80’s they went to Ushualuk, then to another camp.
In the 90’s Piona attended the Atagoyuk School in Pangnirtung however he did not stay there long as his parents needed his help at the outpost camp. Both his parents had developed lung cancer. He would go caribou hunting with his father and help carry back the meat. He remembers that the distances they had to walk were far but he says that he was not lazy.
He grew up in the camps with his parents and grandparents. His grandparents used to tell him stories and he was an avid listener. He said that “I did not just throw them away (but kept them) by my ears”. His grandmother used to tell him that “…if you keep the stories you can go further.”
Of all the artists in Pangnirtung today, Piona is perhaps the most creative and produces some of the most exciting work. He is a strong individualist and because of his upbringing and interest in shamanism, possesses an infinite source of images and inspiration.