Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nunavut, rock ptarmigan and purple saxifrage


The symbols of Nunavut, its territorial symbols the rock ptarmigan and purple saxifrage flowers cover the hand-carved map of Nunavut in this linocut. The block was inked 'à la poupée' (with different colours, lavendar, beige, black and red, in different areas) and printed by hand on lovely Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper. Each print is 23.5 cm by 31.8 cm (9.25" by 12.5"). The print is one of an edition of seven.

Canada's most recent territory, Nunavut (from the Inuktitut : ᓄᓇᕗᑦ ˈnunavut, for 'our land') which separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999 (though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993), includes all the islands in Hudson's Bay not specifically claimed by Ontario or Quebec, so I've included the boundary of Hudson's Bay and James Bay.

How wonderful are the words 'ptarmigan' and 'saxifrage'? I mean how many 'pt...' words do you know? I can think of pterodactyl and Ptah (the Egyptian god). Saxifrage apparently comes from the rock-breaking nature of this tundra and alpin-dweller, but I think it just sounds cool. Also, who could resist the male rock ptarmigan's extravagent scarlet eyelashes eye combs?

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