Napachie Pootoogook was born in 1938 at Sako, a traditional Inuit camp on the southwest coast of Baffin Island, Northwest Territories, Canada. Her name is often also spelled Napachie. Her father was one of Inuit art’s most important figures, Pitseolak Ashoona. Her family has a strong artistic identity that has contributed significantly to the reputation of Cape Dorset art. Her brothers are known as famous sculptors, and her sisters-in-law graphic artists.
In the mid-1950s, while living at Kiaktuuq, she married Eegyvukluk Pootoogook, son of the important camp leader Pootoogook, who has since become one of the main printers in the Cape Dorset studio. Like her mother, Napachie began drawing in the late 1950s. Since she began, until her death, Napachie’s work has been included in nearly every annual collection of Cape Dorset prints. Napachie and her husband moved into Cape Dorset in 1965.
Although much of her early work presents a lyrical, dream-like reflection of Inuit beliefs in the spirit world, the main thrust of her prints and drawings since the mid-1970s has been more concerned with recording traditional life, clothing, and local Inuit history. In prints such as ‘Atchealda’s Battle’ (1978), ‘The First Policeman I Saw’ (1978), ‘Nascopie Reef’ (1989), and ‘Whaler’s Exchange’ (1989), Napatchie uses a vigorous, energetic figurative style to bring to life significant events of the past.