An inuksuk is a stone structure that can communicate knowledge essential for survival to an Arctic traveler. Inuksuit are found throughout the Arctic areas of Alaska, Arctic Canada, and Greenland. Inuksuit take on many forms, the most recognized being the inunnguaq (’like a person’), which is built in the shape of a human. I often see these rock structures (small versions) made by hikers on the hikes I do in my province.
I was inspired to create this watercolour lesson based on this gorgeous book I bought in a local bookstore. It is written and illustrated by Mary Wallace, an Ontario artist and teacher. In the book, Wallace, in consultation with Inuit elders and other noted experts, gives a fascinating introduction in words, pictures, and paintings to the many forms of the inuksuk structure and its unique place in Inuit life and culture.
This gorgeously illustrated book highlights the ingenuity of a people who live in a demanding environment. The book includes the use of the Inuit alphabet to caption the beautiful pictures. There is a dictionary of sounds and words in the back, which can be used for kids to write their own names in Inuit.
Using the book as reference as well and a handout I hand drew, Grade 6 students drew a Canadian landscape including an inunnguaq. I encouraged them to include a foreground, middle ground and background. They drew a border and included a space at the bottom to include their name translated in the Inuit alphabet. They outlined their drawings in Sharpie, then painted using watercolour.
Some finished Grade 6 paintings: