Janet Ripley Armstrong, a resident of Nunavut since 1975, is celebrating her new exhibition at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit. (Allison Chandler/CBC) Janet Ripley Armstrong, a resident of Nunavut since 1975, is celebrating her new exhibition at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit.
"I haven’t done an exhibit in the museum for many, many years, so this is rather exciting," she said.
The artist works primarily in watercolour, but has recently begun experimenting with a technique called monoprinting. A single-use print is hand-crafted by Armstrong, after which she often adds dimension by adding watercolour or pastel on top.
The exhibition began on Sept. 8, though the opening reception is scheduled for Sept. 15. Armstrong’s paintings will be on display until Oct. 10. ‘Complex and difficult’
Armstrong’s exhibit, entitled What I See… , depicts scenes that might be familiar to residents of the territory. But her inspiration can also come from unexpected sources.
"I have a wonderful print over there from a photograph that I took at the dump," she said.
"My paintings are complex and difficult, although they can be very simple as well. So I’ve got a whole variety, but it is what I see around here and other places."
Armstrong was also inspired by the shacks, or small huts, along the bay in Iqaluit, which are being removed as part of a revitalization of the harbour.
She said it was important to ensure "things that would be preserved, and would be looked at again." Armstrong’s exhibit, entitled What I See…, depicts scenes that might be familiar to residents of the territory. (Allison Chandler/CBC) A lifelong artist
Armstrong has been creating art in Nunavut for decades. She says she’s done a lot of work in sewing and making costumes, and served as the curator of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly until 2016.
She started painting in earnest in her mid-30s, though the seeds were planted far earlier than that.
"When I was about five, my mother gave me a paintbrush and some paint and said, ‘Here, go and paint the inside of … the kitchen cupboard.’ I did, and it was the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever had," she said.
"I didn’t know I’d come back to it 30 years later, but here I am. I love the feel of the brush, I love sitting down and having the painting come together, and expressing yourself through the paint."
Armstrong says her next project will likely be a painting of the bowhead whale hunted in Iqaluit in August. She’ll be using one of her granddaughter’s photographs as inspiration.
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