In a statement released December 29, 2017, Governor General Julie Payette announced 125 new appointments to the Order of Canada. The Inuit Art Quarterly is thrilled to report that Nunavummiuq graphic artist and printmaker Andrew Qappik is among the list of recipients and will become a Member of the Order of Canada “for his contributions to defining the visual culture of Nunavut as a master printmaker and sculptor.” Qappik is the second Inuk artist to have been named to the Order of Canada in 2017. In June 2017 the IAQ was pleased to report on artist Michael Massie’s appointment, alongside that of Ellen Hamilton, founding member of Qaggiavuut! and passionate supporter of Arctic performing arts.
Based in Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), NU, Qappik has been actively drawing since the age of eight. His first prints were catalogued when he was 14, and he’s been developing his techniques ever since. His graphic art often portrays multiple perspectives of his subjects and features vibrant colours, resulting in evocative and resonant works. Though his family members and the knowledge they’ve passed on to him have heavily influenced his artistry, Qappik frequently puts contemporary spins on his pieces. Qappik’s output extends beyond works that can appear in collections, as well. He advised the Chief Herald of Canada on the design for Nunavut’s flag and coat of arms, and his designs have formed the basis for the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. logos.
The IAQ has followed Qappik’s notable artistic career for several years. The artist was profiled in our Fall/Winter 2004 Arts Alive Special Issue and was highlighted in our Winter 2005 issue, which focused on Qappik’s graphic art and his ability to imbue contemporary Arctic scenes with life. More recently, Qappik was the subject of our Fall 2010 issue’s Curatorial Notes, written by Darlene Coward Wight, Curator of Inuit Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, on the occasion of his first solo retrospective. “There is a strong storytelling impetus in Qappik’s work that is facilitated by his multiple perspectives and his use of very fine detailing,” explained Wight. This thoughtful approach to both subject and composition has remained vital to Qappik’s artistic output and is visible throughout his practice.
Qappik’s appointment to the Order of Canada comes on the heels of another major national honour: designing two 25-cent coins that were released by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2017. The limited-edition coins were part of a four-part series that explored the predator-and-prey relationship between the Arctic fox and the Arctic hare. Qappik’s designs featured a fox and hare surrounded by a walrus, lemming, falcon and fish.