This drawing shows a woman in labour, kneeling and surrounded by three women who hold her hands and support her back. The syllabics read “Pitseolak” and “Here she is about to give birth.” It is unclear whether Pitseolak is signing the work or is referring to herself as the woman giving birth in the image. As an elder in the close-knit camps, she vacillated between depicting her personal experiences and depicting those she shared with women in general. Here, she translates her own experience into an image of how Inuit women traditionally gave birth.
Shared History: The Drawings of Pitseolak Ashoona
Pitseolak Ashoona, drawing for print Memories of Childbirth, 1976
Coloured felt-tip pen on paper, 24.1 x 35.6 cm, collection of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative Ltd., on loan to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario