Art in Focus: “Dismembered/Remembered” by Marion Tuu’luq

Marion Tuu’luq was a prolific Inuk textile artist and craftswoman who primarily utilized sewing in her artmaking.

Marion Tuu’luq was a prolific Inuk textile artist and craftswoman who primarily utilized sewing in her artmaking. Created in 1980, Dismembered/Remembered (1983.44.4) is an embroidered wall hanging, sectioned into four quarters by bright orange lines. Within the four sections of Dismembered/Remembered are dismembered animals—caribou carcass (top left), traditional caribou-skinned clothes and tent (top right), various birds (bottom left), as well as fishes and bears (bottom right)—are all represented and remembered as Tuu’luq captures and records parts and pieces of them. Although various types of animals and images are separated from each other, every section is incorporated within the larger scalloped border. 

Born in the Back River region of Nunavut, Tuu’luq lived a traditional nomadic life until 1961 when she and her family moved to Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) in order to access schooling and medical care.1 It was in Qamani’tuaq where Tuu’luq began her artmaking journey exploring various mediums such as textiles, beadsworks, prints, and drawings.2 A key turning point in Tuu’luq’s artistic life was her participation in the 1974 exhibition Crafts from Arctic Canada, an exhibition which was shown in both Toronto and Ottawa.3 Tuu’luq quickly became known for her use of vivid colours and dynamic designs that maintain balance in seemingly crowded compositions. In recognition of her achievements, the University of Alberta granted Tuu’luq an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree in 1990. 

Tuu’luq like many other Inuit women artists from the Qamani’tuaq region are known to incorporate their views on life seen and experienced from their perspectives in their works.4 Dismembered/Remembered records Tuu’luq’s memories of the animals and places that allowed her and her people to survive—the skins and bones of the animals that the women of the families scraped, butchered, and sewed for the family in their camps.5 Tuu’luq pays respect to the animals of the Arctic by remembering them and emphasizes the harmony and coexistence of all creatures on a shared land.  

Dismembered/Remembered presents an order within its busy composition. Each quadrant is filled with imagery symbolizing the artist’s own lived experience and appreciation of the existence of all living things. Reflecting Tuu’luq’s own memories of living on the land, the symbolic representations of the lives on the land visually reflect and remind us of her life, knowledge, and beliefs.

1 National Gallery of Canada profile on Marion Tuu’luq, (accessed 18 October 2022).

2 Inuit Art Foundation profile on Marion Tuu’luq accessed 18 October 2022).

3 National Gallery of Canada profile on Marion Tuu’luq.

4 Inuit Art Quarterly. 1994 no.2 p.4

5 Inuit Art Quarterly. 1994 no.2 p.12-13

This web story is part of the University of Alberta Museums Art Collection Spotlight Series, a collection of web stories aimed to share works of art from the University of Alberta Museums Art Collection with the world. Posted monthly, these stories connect works of art in the Collection to important matters on our campus and in our world.