“Co-operative enterprises build a better world” is the 2012 theme for the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. Cape Dorset, in Canada’s north, is a co-operative of thirty-one communities which produce and sell art works to help the local economy and community. The results are beautiful and full of character.

Most of the works are made using traditional stonecut print-making, where an area is cut away to leave the elements that will make a print impression. Other works in the collection are made by etching or with lithography, which is a relatively new technique having only reached the area in the 1970s.

There is a real charm in the way that life is, portrayed in the prints, especially the representation of animals. Everything has vitality and a robust quality that echoes the fact that some of the artists are also hunters with a respect for wildlife.

We hope that the techniques of making and the styles of the prints will also encourage young illustrators to have a go at depicting what is around them.

The 2012 collection is on show in various galleries across Canada and else where. A lsit of places where you can see and perhaps buy these prints can be found here.

You can see more of the collection and learn more about the printing techniques here.

All images courtesey of Dorset Fine Arts. Image credits:

Top: Ningeokuluk Teevee, Gliding Owl

Second from top: Pitaloosie Saila, Undersea Illusion

Second from bottom:  Tim Pitsiulak, Arqavitturq (Diving Whale)

Bottom: Kenojuak Ashevak, Red Fox