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Nunavik Art Alive - Artist Profiles - Noah Meeko

Noah Meeko (1928–2004)

ROOTS

Born in Sanikiluaq in 1928, Meeko moved to Kuujjuaraapik with his family as a young child.

MEDIA

Sculpture and printmaking.

HOW HE WORKED

A self-sufficient artist who often carved and printed his own work, Meeko was also known to carve print stones for his wife, Lucy.

THEMES

Hunting scenes, birds, abstraction.

SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENTS

A respected member of his community, Meeko was known for his generosity and would often host fellow artists travelling through Kuujjuaraapik. He strove to share his traditional knowledge with the younger generation and often took school groups out on the land, instructing the children in survival skills. An active member of the church, Meeko also served on the community’s justice committee.

Best known as a talented sculptor and printmaker, Meeko was also noted for his skills in snow sculpting. He participated in national competitions held in Quebec in 1977 and 1982. In 1987, he and his wife, Lucy, participated in an international competition held in Rovaniemi, Finland — they were awarded first prize in the “figurative expression” category for their efforts. Meeko also represented Nunavik at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, where he once again demonstrated his snow sculpting skills. He was later recognized for his efforts by Makivik Corporation and was honoured with an award for achievement in 1994.

Meeko’s work is held in important collections across the country such as that of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and has also been featured in international exhibitions in Jerusalem, Richmond, Virginia, and Indiana, Pennsylvania.

ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT

Although Meeko’s output of prints was confined to a relatively short time span, his work developed significantly within the first year. While his first attempts at printmaking can be described as hesitant, his pieces in the 1973 collection are much more fully developed and feature more complex, fluid imagery. His subjects range from realistic hunting scenes to abstract, flattened compositions. Meeko’s work in the second 1973 release also bears witness to his experimentation with new printmaking techniques. Encouraged by visiting artists such as Chin Kok Tan and Bob Paterson, Meeko began to incorporate stencilling and silk-screening into his repertoire, along with to his work in stonecut prints.

FIRST GAINED ATTENTION

Meeko’s work first gained attention when one of his experimental prints was included in the initial Arctic Quebec print collection, released in 1972. Selected by the Kuujjuaraapik Cooperative to participate in a seven-week printmaking workshop delivered by Bob Paterson in Puvirnituq, Meeko attended the workshop with his wife, Lucy, and his townsman Adamie Papialuk.

REFERENCES

George, Jane

“Duplex fire claims two elders in Kuujjuaraapik,” Nunatsiaq News, December 3, 2004. http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/archives/41203/news/nunavik/41203_01.html.

Mitchell, Marybelle

2005 “Working Together in Harmony and Hopefulness,” Inuit Art Quarterly (IAQ), vol. 20, no.2 (Summer): 9.

Myers [Mitchell], ed.

1973 Arctic Quebec I and II Print Collections. Montreal: La Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec.
1972 Arctic Québec. Montreal: La Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec.