Printmaking flourished in many Inuit communities in the early 1960s, buoyed by a changing art world, Canadian nationalism, and reshaped attitudes towards Indigenous culture. Puvirnituq [Povungnetuk], in Nunavik [Arctic Quebec], was among the first communities to develop a print studio, when the artist Gordon Yearsley was hired by the co-operative to administer a print program. Yearsley focused upon the stone-cut relief and stencil technique. Artists such as Noah Quinuayark, Thomassiapik Sivuarapik, Leah Qumaluk, and others, created their first experimental prints in 1961. That same year, printmakers from Cape Dorset, which was the first Inuit community to begin printmaking, traveled to Puvirnituq to share their knowledge. Yearsley left due to differences with Father Andre Steinmann, the influential Catholic missionary. Vctor Tinkl was hired in 1962 to continue the print program. The Puvirnituq studio adopted the modern sosaku-hanga “self-printing” method, whereby the graphic artist cut his/her own block and printed the images, in contrast to the division of print labour that had emerged in Cape Dorset.
The Puvirnituq studio submitted its first prints to the Canadian Eskimo Arts Council advisory board in 1962. The community released its first annual collection in that year as a co-release with Cape Dorset (subsequent releases would be independent). The Puvirnituq co-operative built a studio facility in the community, and printmaking expanded, with exhibitions across Canada, the US and internationally. Puvirnituq prints are known for their direct, “unpolished” look, the frequent inclusion of text, and hunting, myth, and historical scenes.
Printmaking began to decline in Puvirnituq in the 1980s. A fire gutted the studio, which effectively ended printmaking in Puvirnituq in 1989.