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Normee Ekoomiak.
Toronto, ON: NC Press, 1988.
32pp., cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 1-55021-005-X. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Inuit-Pictorial works.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up

Reviewed by William F. Benson.

Volume 17 Number 2
1989 March

I highly recommend Arctic Memories to one and all. The promotional material suggests that this book is appropriate for ages nine and up but my six- and seven-year-olds were both captivated by the beauty of the pictures.

The book is effective on several different levels at once. On the one hand there is the pure beauty and simple power of Ekoomiak's art. On a second level there is the author's descriptions of his paintings and the activities and legends behind them that hint at the richness and tradition of Inuit life. It is not a glossed-over reality, in which everything is sweetness and light, but a gritty, truthful acknowledgement of the good and bad features in the lives of these people.

This reality and the difficulty faced by many native peoples carry over to the third level of the book which describes the author's Iife and life-style. Normee Ekoomiak's Iife has been as tortured and as difficult as any of the great artists of the last hundred years and yet through it all his art reflects something much greater than himself alone. It brings home very clearly, though, the problems faced by many native people in moving to major centres.

This book should be in all libraries across Canada. My only complaint is that it is too short.

William F. Benson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
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