by BK Munn
Alootook Ipellie, the Inuit cartoonist, has died suddenly in Ottawa. He was 56.
Ipellie was well-known as a gallery artist and his comics work had only recently begun to be appreciated by a wider audience.
Raised in Frobisher Bay, Ipellie was artistically inspired by Superman comics as a youth. He dropped out of the lithography program at West Baffin Eskimo Co-Op in 1972 and went on to create single panel cartoons for Inuit Today magazine. He also worked as an editor and journalist before becoming a prominent artist, defying the stereotypes of Inuit art with his sexually charged, modern images. Ipellie also created the comic strip Nuna and Vut for the Nunatsiak News in the 1990s. His work was showcased in various galleries internationally and in Canada and in the recent Monster Island Three comics anthology, edited by Montreal’s Billy Mavreas. Ipellie’s book, Arctic Dreams and Nightmares was published in 1993. He also wrote a children’s book, The Inuit Thought of It.
Ipellie died of a heart attack outside his Ottawa apartment September 8. He will be buried in Iqaluit. Ipellie is survived by his daughter Taina.
People of the Good Land
by BK Munn