Ricky Jaw - Dancing Bear

Inuit Artwork

Sam Akesuk
Date of Birth: 1991
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium: Stone Carving – serpentine

Sam is a talented youth that comes from a family of artists. His grandfather is the renowned Nuna Parr, and his father is Peter Parr. His brothers Maleetu and Noah also carve.

Like many youn Inuit artists, Sam carves mainly Inuksuit. His pieces are realistic and well finished. Besides carving, Sam’s other main interest is hockey.

Brian Arualak St.
Birth Place: Whale Cove, Nunavut
Residence: Arviat
Medium: Drawing, Painting Murals

Brian lives in Arviat and is married to Arualak Matilda since October 18, 1997.  He graduated high school in 1996.

Back Row, Left to Right: Terrence King, Norman Alikut, Romeo Ikakhik, Andy Ulayok, Robert Jr. Gibbons, Gabriel Anowtalik, Jamie Aulatjut. Front Row, Left to Right: Jonah Sewoee, Jonah Kinak, Danny Illungiayok, Evano Jr. Aggark, Brian Arualak

Artist Brian Arualak was commissioned to create the logo for Arviat Film in April of 2013.

Brian has also created various murals in public places in Arviat including the local health centre, the community hall and Levi Angmak Elementary School.  The logo has a main mascot of the Polar Bear (nanuq).  Arviat is also home to the mighty Polar Bear as they migrate through the coast of Hudson’s Bay and head north during the fall.

Billy Merkosak

Billy makes his home in Pond Inlet on the Northern tip of Baffin Island, in Canada’s newest Territory- Nunavut.

His has a wide range of skills and interests that have seen him work at such jobs as Project Officer for the Department of Public Works and Services and as manager of Pond Inlet’s Visitors Centre.

As a northern artist, he is primarily known for his wide range of whale bone sculptures. He also produces works in stone or ivory, Inuit drums and masks, graphic illustrations and watercolour paintings.

 “Each Spring and summer I travel out on the land to hunt, spend time collecting the stones and whalebones. Re-learn the old ways of carving and experience the path that was walked by my forefathers.” These trips into the untouched areas of land provide him with the majority of the materials that he uses in his sculptures. His inspiration comes from aspects of Northern life: elders, cultures both past and present.

His mother, who also lives in Pond Inlet has supported and encouraged him to continue being an artist. “Producing art in different styles would not be successful or enjoyable if I did not have the support of my mother and elders, the encouragement of many relatives and the interest of a good many people who enjoy what I create.”

Billy’s artwork can be found in a number of private and corporate collections and enjoyed by visitors to Canada’a North- particularly in his home community of Pond Inlet.

Jaco Ishulutaq
Date of Birth: February 15, 1951
Place of Birth: Pangnirtung
Residence: Pangnirtung
Medium: Carving, stone, whalebone, drawings

Jaco Ishulutaq started carving at the age of sixteen, encouraged by his mother, the well-known artist Eleesapee Ishulutaq. He learned about technique by watching his grandfather.  Today he is equally comfortable with various mediums, including stone, antler, ivory and whalebone.

Jaco has also produced graphics work for the archives at the Uqqurmiut Centre, choosing images based on stories told by his grandfather. Some of his drawings have been used by the Pangnirtung printmakers and weavers in their annual collections.

Today Jaco is the most prolific carver in the area, and he makes an excellent living from his art. His pieces are highly sought and are exhibited in fine art galleries all over the world.

An active participant in Pangnirtung community life, Jaco also instructs wilderness survival courses and volunteers to serve with the Pangnirtung Rangers, a local rescue and security team.


·       Nov – Dec 1979                        In Celebration of the Arts of the       Canadian Eskimo of Pangnirtung, NWT  Inuit Art Gallery  San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

·       October – Nov 1980                Pangnirtung Whalebone Sculpture, Gallery One,  Toronto, Ontario

·       January – February 1981        Pangnirtung Whalebone Sculpture,  The Snow Goose  Ottawa, Ontario

·       May – June 1981     Pangnirtung – Recent Sculpture  Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia (illustrated catalogue)

·       November – Dec 1984               Pangnirtung 1984: Eskimo Print Collection  and Sculpture Images of the North,  San Francisco, California, U.S.A. (illustrated brochure)

·       October 1986  Masterwork Sculpture 1986 Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia (illustrated catalogue)

·       November – Dec 1987   Art Inuit  Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec  Montreal, Quebec

·       July 1988  [L’art inuit]  Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai  at Chapelle de la Visitation, Thonon  France

·       August – Sep 1988  Mother & Child  Marion Scott Gallery  Vancouver, British Columbia   (illustrated catalogue)

·       November 1988 [L’art inuit] Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Les Martres-de-Veyre  France

·       December 1988 [L’art inuit]  Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai  at Galerie des Tanneurs, Mulhouse  France

·       February – March 1989   [L’art inuit] Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at St. Marcellin  France

·       March – April 1989   [L’art inuit]  Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai  at Palais de l’Europe, le Touquet  France

·       May 1989  Spirit of the Birds  Gallery of the Arctic  Victoria, British Columbia   (illustrated catalogue)

·       April 1990   Art Inuit  Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai  at Palais de l’Europe Le Touquet, France

·       July 1990   Art Inuit  Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Thonon les Bains  France

·       January – Feb 1991  Pangnirtung Woven Tapestries  The Upstairs Gallery  Winnipeg, Manitoba

·       February – April 1991  Art Inuit  Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Galerie Humbert  Nantes, France

·       April – June 1991  Art Inuit Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai  at Galerie La Tour des Cardinaux  L’Isle sur la Sorgue, France

·       June – July 1991   Art Inuit  Presented by l’Iglou Art Esquimau, Douai  at Galerie Ombre et Lumiere  Ensisheim, France

·       November – Dec 1991  The Hand:  Images in Inuit Sculpture  The Isaacs/Innuit Gallery  Toronto, Ontario  (illustrated brochure)

·       March – April 1993  The Theme of Transformation in Inuit Sculpture  The Isaacs/Innuit Gallery Toronto

·       May – Sep.1995  Keeping Our Stories Alive:  An Exhibition of the Art and Crafts from Dene and Inuit of Canada Institute of American Indian Arts Museum  Santa Fe, New Mexico, U.S.A. (illustrated catalogue)

·       June – July 2007, The Spirit Within:  Works by jaco Ishulutaq, The Guild Shop, Toronto, Ontario

·       June – September 2010, Inuit Art: Masterworks from the Arctic, Scott Polar Museum, Cambridge UK

·       November – December 2010, Inuit Sculptures and Drawings, Canadian  Guild of Crafts, Montreal, Quebec

·       February 2011 – Rhythm and Drum Dance, Kulik Art Inuit, Quebec City, Quebec

·       September – October 2011, Summertime, Puffin Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Solo Exhibitions:

October – Nov 1989                Inuit Life and Legends: an exhibition

of sculptures by Jaco Ishulutaq

Gallery Phillip

Don Mills, Ontario

1991                                           Jaco Ishulutaq

Galerie aux Multiples Collections

Quebec, Quebec

April – May 1991                      Sculpture by Jaco Ishulutaq

The Innuit Gallery of Eskimo Art

Toronto, Ontario

(illustrated brochure)


Amway Environmental Foundation Collection, Ada, Michigan, U.S.A.

Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre, Sudbury, Ontario

Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, Brunswick, Maine, U.S.A.

Honours, Achievements and Events:

1989     Travelled to Don Mills, Ontario to attend the opening of his exhibition

‘Inuit Life and Legends’ at Gallery Phillip.

Selected References:

Gallery of the Arctic

ECHOES OF THE DRUM.  Victoria, B.C. : Gallery of the Arctic, 1988.

Gallery of the Arctic

SPIRIT OF THE BIRDS.  Victoria: Gallery of the Arctic, 1989.

Institute of American Indian Arts Museum

KEEPING OUR STORIES ALIVE:  An Exhibition of Art and Crafts from

Dene and Inuit of Canada.  Santa Fe, N.M.: Institute of American

Native Arts Museum, 1995.

Inuit Gallery of Vancouver

MASTERWORKS; SCULPTURE.  Vancouver, B.C. : Inuit Gallery of

Vancouver, 1986.

Works Cited:

INAC, Inuit Artist Biography System.1995.

Uqqurmiut.com.  5 Feb. 2005.  Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts and Crafts.  19 Jan. 2012.

. www.Katilvik.com

Ricky (Sam) Jaw
Date of Birth: October 15, 1987
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium: Carving – stone, serpentine

Ricky Jaw is an emerging young carver, whose interest in carving was encouraged by his father, Matthew Saveakjuk Jaw.  Ricky used to watch his father carve, and later Matthew helped him learn how to shape a piece.

Ricky enjoys carving and likes to challenge himself by trying different subjects, such as children on sleds, dog teams and animals.

His pieces that depict children on sleds capture an activity that Ricky really enjoyed as a child.

Works Cited:

Fisher, Kyra Vladykov.  Guide to Cape Dorset Artists.  Cape Dorset:  Municipality of Cape
Dorset, 2008.

Maudie Rachel Ohiktook
Date of Birth: January 1, 1944
Residence: Taloyoak
Medium: Carving – stone, crafts, sewing

Maudie Ohiktook is one of the most renowned female Inuit carvers. She was born at Thom Bay, on the eastern Boothia Peninsula. She lived a traditional life with her family until 1966, when they moved to Taloyoak. (INAC)

Maudie began carving in 1968, toghether with her husband James Ohiktook. (Wight 94) They “used to carve together, using only hand tools such as axes and files’, and they would criticize each other’s carving and encourage each other. (Wight 94).

In an 1996 interview Maudie described her approach to her art:
When I am in the first stages of a carving, it is hard to see what it will be-for me anyway. I never know what I am making until I start chipping away at it. Only when I see a figure, do I start knowing what it will be. So at first I chip it, then finally I know to go ahead and make whatever I see. (Wight 94)

Maudie’s most frequently explored themes are supernatural spirits and deities, especially Sedna or Taleelayuk. (INAC) She is one of the few artists who started carving in the 1960’s and still continues to produce powerful art today. (Wight 94)
Compiled by Nunavut Development Corporation

1974 Crafts from Arctic Canada/Artisanat de
l’arctique canadien
Canadian Eskimo Arts Council
Ottawa, Ontario
(illustrated catalogue)

Mar. – Apr. 1979 Sculpture of the Inuit: Lorne Balshine
Collection/Lou Osipov Collection/
Dr. Harry Winrob Collection
Surrey Art Gallery
Surrey, British Columbia
(illustrated catalogue)

Jul. 1979 – May 1980 Inuit Art in the 1970s
Department of Indian Affairs
and Northern Development, and the
Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Kingston, Ontario
(illustrated catalogue)

Sep. – Oct. 1980 Spence Bay Sculpture: An Expressive
The Innuit Gallery of Eskimo Art
Toronto, Ontario
(illustrated catalogue)

December 1982 Spence Bay Sculpture
Inuit Gallery of Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia

Feb.- Mar.1984 Canadian Inuit Art
City Hall
Nuuk/Godthab, Greenland

Matheussie Oshutsiaq
Date of Birth: unknown (est. 1995)
Place of Birth: Cape Dorset
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium: Carving – stone, serpentine

Like most young Inuit starting out in the world of sculpture, Matheussie carves mainly Inuksuit. He comes from a family of artists. His mother Omalluk Oshutsiaq and sister Mary are known for their portrayals of human figures, specifically mothers with children.

Matheussie has recently begun to try his hand at carving wildlife such as birds and bears, and he shows promise of developing into a well rounded artist.

Works Cited:
Fisher, Kyra Vladykov. Guide to Cape Dorset Artists. Cape Dorset: Municipality of Cape Dorset, 2008.

Pavinaq Petaulassie
Date of Birth: October 8, 1961
Place of Birth: Cape Dorset
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium: Carving – Stone, Serpentine

Pavinaq’s father, the late Aggeak Petaulassie (1983), was also a carver.

His mother Tlmangiak, and brothers Oatsiya and Etidlui are artists in Cape Dorset.

“My father used to tell me about carving…l like carving in stone because it is easier to work with.” Pavinaq began carving in the early 1970s and prefers groupings of birds or caribou, They are beautiful animals, that’s why.”

from an interview with the Inuit Art Section NOV. 1994.


March – April 1984

May – June 1991

November — Dec 1993

December 1993

April • June 1995

Selected References:

Heritage of the Inuit: Masterpieces of the Eskimo Colorado Galleries of the Arts, Arapahoe Community College Littleton, Colorado, U.S.A.

Mother and Child: Sculpture and Prints

Albers Gallery

San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

(illustrated brochure)

The Treasured Monument

Marion Scott Gallery

Vancouver, British Columbia (illustrated catalogue)

Small Sculptures by Great Artists Il

Feheley fine Arts

Toronto, Ontario

The Birds of Cape Dorset:

A collection of sculpture by

32 Cape Dorset Carvers

Albers Gallery

San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

(illustrated brochure)

Marion Scott Gallery THE TREASURED MONUMENT: An Exhibition of small-scale Inuit Sculpture. Vancouver: Marion Scott Gallery, 1993.

Works Cited:

INAC, Inuit Artist Biograph System 1995.

Palaya Qiatsuk
Date of Birth: May 10, 1965
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium: Sculpture – Stone, Serpentine, Marble

Palaya Qiatsuk is one of the most important artists from the artistic community of.Cape Dorset. He began carving around 19/7. He learned to carve from his father, the well known sculptor and printmaker, Lukta Qiatsuq. palava works in soapstone and bone, and carves each piece with attention to detail.

Palaya is passionate about keeping Inuit culture alive. He attempts to keep the traditional stories alive through his work. He believes that if the culture is to survive, the young people must be taught about the past. He hopes that young people who see his carvings will have a greater understanding of the hardships of their ancestors, and their dependence on the land and the wildlife. “He says: “l like to carve transformations. That’s one of my favorite [themes), and shamanism, when I do transformation or shamanism carvings, [l hope] the younger people will see the carving in a book or in a gallery. I want them to know that these traditions have to be carried out. How do I put this? They have to know that our ancestors had a hard time to live. to hunt. Sometimes they were starving. Those carvings are important to me and I want to show these younger people — and others — that this happened before.”

Palaya is often invited to attend exhibition openings, and to give carving demonstrations at various venues. In 2006, he was invited to demonstrate carving at Canada House (London, England), on the occasion of Canada Day. When he’s travelling, Palaya makes a point to see work by other artists of other cultures, in order to put his work into context. palava Qiatsuq: Encouraging Young Carvers to Persvere”, Matthew Fox. Inuit Art Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 1, spring 2001, pg 26-28.


May 1986                          A New Selection of Masterful Sculptures, From Dorset, Houston North Gallery, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

July – August 1986          Jun. – Jul. 1993 L’art et la Matiere: peintures au sable de Claude Durand – Sculptures d’Art Esquimaux, Conseil Municipal, Le Comite d’Animation Culturelle Deauville-Touques, France

October 1987                   [L•art inuitl Presented by I’lglou Art Esquimau, Douai at Chambre de Commerce de Chateauroux/ France

October 1988                  Tundra & Ice: Stone Images of Animals and Man presented by Orca Aart at the Adventurers’ Club Chicago, Illinois

February 1989                Arctic Images: Major Sculptures by Canada’s Leading Contemporary Eskimo, (Inuit) Artists at D/Eriien Fine Art Limited presented by Orca Aart, Chicago Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

June 1989                       Masters of the Arctic: An Exhibition of Contemporary Inuit Masterworks Presented by the Amway Corporation at the United Nations General Assembly New York, New York, U.S.A.

Jun.- Sept. 1991            Granville Island Canadian Inuit Sculpture, Exhibition (second exhibition)

Mar.— Apr. 1993          Vancouver Inuit Art Society, Vancouver, British Columbia, The Theme of Transformation in Inuit Sculpture, The Isaacs/lnnuit Gallery Toronto, Ontario

The Next Generation—Inuit Sculpture, Gallery Indigena, Stratford, Ontario Oct. — Nov. 1993 – Man-Apr. 2009 Sculpture and Graphics from Cape Dorset, Art Space Gallery Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Nov. -Dec 1994             Small Sculpture by Great Artists: The Younger Generation, Feheley Fine Arts Toronto, Ontario

NOV. – Dec. 1994         Three Young Carvers from Cape Dorset and Drawing’ by Aoudla Pudlat Albers Gallery, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Nov. -Dec. 1995            Miniaturen, Inuit Galerie, Mannheim, Germany, (brochure)

November 1996           Small Sculptures by Great Artists, Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto. Ontario

Feb. -Apr. 1997            Stone & Bone: Inuit Master Carvers Of The Canadian Arctic

June 1997                     The Northwest Company, Held at the Sun Valley Centre for the Arts and Humanities Ketchum, Idaho

March 2009                 Singing Dancing & Playing, Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto, Ontario

Arctic Wildlife Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, Vancouver, British Columbia. Shades of the Inuit Imagination, Loondance Gallery, Mont-Temblant, Quebec.

oct 2009-Jan. 2010   Views of the North, Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown. Prince Edward Island

Sep.-Nov. 2011           Contemporary Art by Inuit and First Nations Artists, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario

December 2011          Inuit Drawings and Sculptures, Gallery Phillip, Toronto. Ontario


Amway Environmental Foundation Collection, Ada, Michigan, U.S.A.

Works Cited:

INAC Inuit Artist Bögraphv Svstem_199S.

Fisher, Kyra Vladvkov. Gude to       Dorset Artists. Cape Dorset: Municipality of Cape Dorset,


Fox, Matthew. – Palaya Qiatsuq: Encouraging Young Carvers to Perserve” Inuit Art Quarterlv Vol.

16.NO. 1.

spring 2001: 26-28.

spiritwrestler.com. Spirit Wrestler G&ry. .

Qavavau Shaa
Date of Birth: May 31, 1964
Place of Birth: Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay)
Residence: Cape Dorset
Medium: Carving – Stone, Serpentine, Marble

Qavavau is the son of renowned Cape Dorset carver Axangayuk Shaa.

Qavavau learned how to carve at the age of 13 from Annie Shaa and his grandfather, Adjangajuk Shaa. He started by first carving Inuksuit. He has progressed at an amazing rate, and he now carves beautiful bears with expressive faces. Although he also carves realistic Inuksuit, seals and birds, his favorite subject is the majestic polar bear.

Qavavau is continuing his school studies and carving in his spare time.

Works Cited:

Fisher, Kyra Vladykov. Guide to Cape Dorset Artists. Cape Dorset: Municipality of Cape Dorset, 2008.

Leo Uttaq
Date of Birth: August 29, 1964
Place of Birth: Boothia Penninsula
Residence: Taloyoak
Medium: Carving – Stone

Leo Uttaq comes from a family of artists. His brother Simon Uttaq is also a carver.  Leo enjoys carving a variety of subjects, but his favorite subjects are Arctic animals.

Like many Inuit artists, Leo obtains antler and whalebone from the land and carving stone from the local quarry.  He transports them back to town by ski-doo.

Leo Uttaq’s works have been included in several exhibitions in Canada.

Works Cited:

Nunavut Development Corporation. Interview. July 21, 2003.