Sunday, January 24, 2016

Reader's Diary #1249- Germaine Arnaktauyok and Gyu Oh: My Name is Arnaktauyok / The Life and Art of Germaine Arnaktauyok

The Life and Art of Germaine Arnaktauyok gives exactly what the title promises. There are autobiographic bits, some discussion of her inspiration and creative process, and description of Inuit legends, all of which is interspersed with images of her artwork.

Arnaktauyok's sentences are mostly short and factual. It's hard to say why. One might be inclined to suggest that it's because English is not her first language. Still she had been forced at residential school at a young age to learn English and I suspect her command of English would be more than sufficient to have spoken with more figurative flair and emotion. She does state at one point that she's shy and she also comes across as quite pragmatic. Even as she describes how residential schools had eroded the bond between her and her parents, it's told with almost no editorializing.

However, the artwork, painstakingly detailed and highly evocative, more than sufficiently balances out the text. Arnaktauyok herself says at one point, "When I do artwork, I put a lot of emotion into." It shows.

The book, as a whole then, is more than a sum of its parts. It speaks as much about the power of art than it does of Arnaktauyok's own life. There's an almost cathartic release. It's a truly breathtaking book.

1 comment:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

How interesting! Perhaps she didn't want her words to take anything away from her art?