Inuit Sculpture & Artwork

Various Artisans:  Price Range: $300 – $8500

Lucy Qinnuayuak (b. 1915-1982) was an Inuk artist born in the small Inuit community of Salluit at the northern tip of Quebec. Her drawings and prints are prolific for her depictions of arctic birds. She also worked with acrylics and mixed media.

As a child, Lucy moved with her family to Baffin Island, where they lived in various outpost camps around Foxe Peninsula. One of these camps, Supujuak, is where she met her husband, sculptor and graphic artist Tikituk Qinnuayuak. She also began to draw during this time. They led a traditional hunting lifestyle until they moved to Cape Dorset in the early 1960’s. It was in 1961 that Lucy’s work was first featured in the Cape Dorset Print Collection. In 1976, Lucy’s design was one of ten chosen to adorn the banners of the summer Olympics. These banners were displayed at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Her work can be found in various collections across Canada and abroad, including the Toronto-Dominion Bank Collection, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, The National Gallery of Canada, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Her work has also been exhibited in Paris, Stockholm, Ottawa, Houston, Anchorage, Chicago, Los Angeles and London.

Kananginak Pootoogook, R.C.A., (b: 1935, Ikerrasak camp, near Cape Dorset; d: November 23, 2010, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) was an Inuit sculptor and printmaker who lived in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada. Elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1980.

Kananginak has been involved with drawing and printmaking since the late 1950’s when the graphic arts program first began at Cape Dorset. Kananginak’s first print, a collaborative image with his father, Pootoogook, was included in the first catalogued collection of Cape Dorset prints in 1959. Since that time, Kananginak’s work has been included in almost every annual collection, and has been interpreted in many different print media – copper engraving, stonecut, stencil, lithography and etching. Kananginak was an accomplished stonecut printmaker himself – in the early years he often proofed and editioned his own work.

Kananginak and his siblings grew up in different camp areas on south Baffin Island. Their main camp was Ikirisaq where their father, Pootoogook, was the camp leader. Kananginak married Shooyoo from Cape Dorset in the mid-1950’s. They lived at Ikirisaq until 1958 when they moved to Cape Dorset because of Pootoogook’s failing health.

Kananginak has been a prominent community leader. He was instrumental in the formation of the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative in 1959, and served for several years as president of its Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts.

In 1978, four of Kananginak’s images were included in a limited edition portfolio released by the World Wildlife Commission. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, in both public institutions and commercial galleries. He is also a notable sculptor.

In 1997, Kananginak was commissioned by the Governor General of Canada, Romeo Leblanc, to construct an inuksuq in Cape Dorset, which was then dismantled and shipped to Ottawa. Kananginak and his son Johnny were then invited to Ottawa to re-assemble the inuksuq on the grounds of Rideau Hall as part of a tribute to Native people in Canada.

From the beginning, Kananginak has represented Arctic wildlife in his work, often monumental in scale. He is especially capable at drawing the many species of birds that frequent the Arctic. He has also done many memorable images illustrating the material culture of the Inuit, and narrative drawings of camp and hunting scenes.

Kananginak received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the Arts this year, in recognition of his long and illustrious career. He has also been a constant presence in the drawing studio, working on large and small scale drawings of Arctic wildlife, landscape and personal reflections. He is represented in the 2010 print collection with nine images – familiar and reassuring in their style and simplicity.

— Dorset Fine Arts (reproduced with permission)


Mary Pudlat (1923-2001); Inuit artist, Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada.

Kellypalik Qimirpik was born in 1948 and lived in Cape Dorset on Baffin Island with his wife Ningeorapik and their three children. His son, Pitseolak, is also a carver and learned from his father.

Qimirpik began carving as a young boy, improving his skills while observing life and the surrounding nature. He is known for his sculptures of wilflife and dramatic figures. Qimirpik had his first exhibition in 1976 as a young man and has gone on to participate in prestigous shows, such as “Masters of the Arctic” and “Die Kunst aus der Arktis” in Mannheim, Germany.

His portrayal of animal transformation pieces and use of imaginative subjects, makes him one of the leading carvers alive today. His work is included in several major collections inlcuding the National Gallery of Canada.

Tim Pee was born on July 17th, 1976 in Cape Dorset, which is located on Baffin Island in Canada’s high arctic (Nunavut Territory). The Cape Dorset community has more famous Inuit artists per capita than any other region in Nunavut.

Tim is an extremely talented carver and presently lives in Cape Dorset. He is one of the youngest and best known carvers living on Baffin Island. He is a full time carver and specializes in carving polar bears either standing or walking. He in fact is mostly known for his polar bear carvings.

(1973 – ) | Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada

Isacie was born in the summer on August 21, 1973 in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  As a child, Isacie would watch his maternal grandfather Latchaulassie Akesuk carve and he would observe the techniques of his well known master carver relation.  Latchaulassie carved birds in a distinctive style with wings on the side open downward.  At about age 16, he would help his grandfather filing and sanding carvings.  Latchaulassie showed him how to use the axe and hacksaw, the tools for carving in the early days.  One time Latchaulassie drew him a picture of a bird and asked him to carve it when he was about 23 years old and Isacie did make the carving like the drawing.

He also watched his father Etidloie Petaulassie carving birds.  Isacie comes from a family of talented artists.  His paternal grandparents were both artists, Aggeak was a carver and Timangiak created drawing, prints and sculpture.  Isacie’s uncle Papinak Petaulassie is a carver as well in Cape Dorset as is his sister Maata Petaulassie and his sons Samonie Shaa and Oqittuq Shaa.  Aqjangajuk Shaa is his father-in-law and Salo Shaa is his wife Punisiti Shaa’s nephew.  Punisiti helps Isacie by sanding his carvings and helps her father Aqjangajuk with sanding his carvings as well.

Manumie Saru, Isacie’s grandfather also on the maternal side did carvings in later life like simplistic walking polar bears, minimal in design that were popular.  Isacie’s family used to live in the same camp as Manumie.  Manumie lived a traditional nomadic life later then most families in the area.  Isacie, as a young boy, followed Manumie to Kangisukuttaaq, the stone quarry site still in use today, to mine stone for carving.  There they became weathered in for an additional week and had no food, Isacie and his grandfather returned to Cape Dorset by boat in extremely rough seas.  This left a lasting memory for Isacie.  Isacie has gone for years with Aqjangajuk to the stone quarry sites to help mine stone.  In the past five years, Aqjangajuk has not done these stone quarrying trips as they are very physically challenging and unpredictable.

Isacie’s favorite animal is the polar bear.  Isacie credits his cousin Nujalia Pootoogook with influencing his carving subject choice.  Nujalia was carving small to mid sized joyful dancing bears.  Isacie would watch his cousin and help him sand his pieces.  Nujalia inspired him to start making dancing bears.  Nujalia passed away in the 1990s.
Isacie was in his early 20s when he started to carve full time, power tools such as grinders and dermal tools were in common use by then, replacing the axe, chisels and hacksaw used by his grandfathers and father.

Isacie attended the Nunavut Arctic College and completed their jewelry and metalwork training, obtaining a diploma in the Fine Arts and Crafts Metalwork and Jewelry program.  He had a lot of fun working with metal, learning how to solder it and to “make it shine”.  He has an easy time making the transition between carver and jeweler.  Isacie is currently not making jewellery as he does not have the tools for jewellery making.

Isacie says he admires all carvers, saying they all have different talents.  He has been happy to share his talent with his two sons, Samonie and Oquittuq.  He shows them how to carve by letting them watch, offering them his advice and instructing them while they practice.  Isacie said that his sons had initiated the instruction because they wanted to learn how to carve.

Isacie is an emerging artist with over twenty years experience carving stone.  He carves primarily in serpentine stone and will also carve in white marble.  His work is focused mainly on bears – dancing, diving and walking.  Isacie’s bears are entertaining with precise facial features and robust bodies.  He possesses the skill to balance the bear in up to 4 different positions.  This technical ability to balance the stone on a variety of paws allows him and his admirers the freedom of movement with his carvings.  These delightful bears are often dancing and diving.  A dancing bear may be able to stand on either hind leg allowing the observer to make the carving dance.  The well executed diving and dancing bears can either dance on a hind leg or dive in with their front paw.  Isacie supports his family through his artwork.

Isacie’s favorite part about carving is being able to envision the carving before it gets started and also finds it exciting when the art piece is about to be finished.  Aside from keeping busy with carving, Isacie enjoys spending time with his family and friends.  He hopes to travel one day, saying he would enjoy the opportunity to do a carving demonstration in a gallery that sells or holds his work.

Name spellings include Isacie Petaulassie, Isaaci Petaulassie, Isaci Petaulassie

(1977 – ) | Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada

Ashevak Adla was born on February 22nd, 1977 in Iqaluit and returned home to Cape Dorset.  Adla comes from a family of carvers.  His maternal grandfather Aoudla (Audla) Pee is well known for revealing the spiritual qualities of bears through his carvings of stone. His grandmother, Nurluapik Pee was a sculptor and craftswoman.  His paternal grandfather Kalai Adla and his wife Tai carved stone and did drawings.   His cousin Tim Pee is also a carver.

A young Ashevak would watch his grandfather Aoudla Pee carve Arctic creatures out of stone.  When Adla was eleven or twelve years old, he started working with carving tools.   His first carvings were simple sculptures and his first piece was a beluga.  He started carving because he wanted to provide an income for himself.  His knowledge of the art form came from observing respected artists and carving his own pieces.

As a teenager, Ashevak learned many techniques by watching master carver Kiugak (Kiuwak) Ashoona work on a number of occasions.   He also spent time watching Nuna Parr carve his bears.  He admired Kiugak’s human figures because of how detailed and realistic Kiugak was able to render his carvings. When asked what his biggest inspiration to continue carving is, Ashevak replied that his children are his motivation.  Ashevak’s spouse is Qilimiumi Ningeosiak and they have 4 children together.

He has sculpted birds, human figures and transformations but has focused mainly on making bears because they are in high demand.  He uses electric tools because it is less time consuming.  His detailed bear carvings can be walking, stalking or sniffing, as they seek out Arctic sustenance.  He also carves dancing bears with distinguished features and poise.  Ashevak has developed his own signature style and his bears are admired by many.  Ashevak often finishes his subjects with a high polish to showcase the beauty of the serpentine stone.

Ashevak has always lived and carved in Cape Dorset.  Some of Ashevak’s hobbies include spending time with friends and family, camping and hunting.  Spring time is his favorite season to go out on the land.  When asked what he likes about hunting the most, Ashevak replied with “everything”, ranging from seals, geese, ptarmigan and walrus in the fall.  His grandparents Kalai and Tai taught him how to hunt when he was a child. Now, Ashevak goes hunting with his brother Ettula, his cousins and other friends.  He proudly told how his daughter Laisa caught her first fish this past spring in 2016.
Adla’s work has been available in national and international galleries for over two decades.  One of his carvings is on the cover of the book Cape Dorset Sculpture which was published in 2005.   Ashevak Adla’s carvings are some of the most sought after sculptures of the younger generation of Inuit artists.
name spellings include Ashivak Adla, Ashiva Adla, Ashevak Adla


Date of Birth : 20 December 1979

Place of Birth: Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay)

Residence: Cape Dorset

Style Description: Distinctive style. Simplistic, yet strong but can be delicate and graceful depending on the subject matter. The transformations are creative and fantasy-like. Her replicas of vehicles or chairs are realistic, in proportion and functionality.

Artist Development: Ningeosiak, the youngest daughter in the family, says that she was taught to carve by her father and mother. She started carving at 13 years of age. Ningeosiak is one of the most prolific young female carvers in Cape Dorset today and one of the very few women who carve. She has also tried drawing but it did not hold as much appeal for her as carving did. Ningeosiak uses both hand and power tools. The power tools allow her to speed up her production, but she needs the hand tools to do fine work. Carving is time consuming, but because her family depends on the income from her artwork, she must hurry up the process.

She does not have the past as a frame of reference for her work; she values the comments people make about her work because they help to give it meaning. She much prefers creating new subjects to repeating old ones, unless a particular subject matter is in demand.

Etidloi, Etulu

Etulu Etidloi (1946 – )

Date of Birth : 15 June 1946

Place of Birth: Tulukanni

Residence: Cape Dorset

Family: Son of renowned carver Etidloi Etidloi.

Style Description: Whalebone pieces have strong, simple forms. With his stone pieces, surface and texture become more important for him than form.

Artist Development: Etulu Etidloi worked before he turned to carving between 1063 and 1965. while he was making his first carving, of a woman, he accidentally broke her legs off. She still sold for a lot of money, and that convinced him that he should continue carving. He learned by watching his father Etidloi carve. He says that loons have been his primary subject for almost 25 years because he keeps on getting requests for them. The shape of the stone dictates what Etulu will make. He rotates the piece of stone until the form suggests a subject. In the past his subject matter included dancing bears, however he stopped making them in preference to detailed loons because he is inspired by them.

Although Etulu’s work has been shown in both Montreal and Ottawa, he says he carves to support himself, not to be exhibited. When he looks at other artists’ work, he sees things that he would not have thought of carving himself. As far as his own work is concerned, he says “I try my best.” In the 1960’s Etidloi and his stepmother Kingmeata, a renowned graphic artist, settled permanently in Cape Dorset and both became artist-members of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op.

Etidloi, IsaciSave

Isaci Etidloie

Date of Birth : 15 November 1972

Place of Birth: Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay)

Residence: Cape Dorset

Family: Son of renowned carver Etulu Etidloi.

Style Description: Family resemblance to the work of his aunt Omalluk Oshutsiaq and his father Etulu. Decorative elements consist of texture, polished and matte areas. Figures are strong and substantial, as opposed to delicate and finely executed.

Artist Development: At the age of 7 Isaci disobeyed his father’s words, “Don’t touch my tools!” He views himself as having been a rebel; however, he philosophically says that having disobeyed his father got him where he is today artistically. He started off by using hand tools, but in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, he added power tools to the selections of hack saw, chisels, and files he was already using. Isaci used to watch his father carved and be paid for his labour after a few hours, where as his mother way paid every two weeks. The idea of being paid in two hours rather than two weeks appealed to him enormously and perhaps influenced his decision to drop out of school.

Isaci prides himself on doing work differently from others. He credits Jimmy Manning for having encouraged him to make different work. Jimmy told him, “If you are going to keep doing this and not go back to school than you have to try to do different things.”

Isaci prefers to work on larger pieces because he finds details such as muscles and veins easier when he is working on a larger scale. He likes to challenge himself in whatever work he does. He enjoys doing something different that will “catch the eye of the beholder.” He does not carve polar bears or walruses, as he considers them “too simple.” He prefes the more difficult work of creating complex pieces with different materials. Using antler, ivory and stone to sculpt a transformation piece of an animal turning into a human, which he considers the most challenging of all work.

He has exhibited in Canada the United States and Belgium. His work has captured the attention of Christine Lalonde at the National Gallery. Recently his work was part of an exhibition entitled Inuit Sculpture Now 2007 at the National Gallery.


Joanasie Manning (1967 – )

Joanasie Manning has lived in Cape Dorset all his life. Joanasie’s mother, Annie Manning, has worked in the north and south as a translator for English and Inuktitut. She is also well versed in the art of sewing and doll making. Joanasie’s grandfather, Osuitok Ipeelee of Cape Dorset, is a well known carver from whom Joanasie openly admits he has drawn not only his inspiration but from whom he has learnt to sculpt.

Joanassie, who began carving at the age of twenty, credits his grandfather, the renowned carver Osuitok Ipeelee, as a great influence on his work. After carving sporadically for a number of years, Joanassie is now working more consistently. He has evolved a personal style that is becoming stronger and more confident as his primary love of owls evolves through his sculpture. His depiction of owls generally with their chicks shows that despite his strength there is an underlying paternal instinct.


Pudlalik Shaa

Date of Birth : 29 December 1965

Place of Birth: Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay)

Residence: Cape Dorset

Family: Son of renowned carver Axangayu Shaa.

Style Description: Naturalistic birds and animals that are stable and well balanced.

Artist Development: Pudlalik started carving at the age of 12 after watching his father Axangayu Shaa and others carve. He received two dollars for his first carving, which was either a seal or a polar bear – he could not recall exactly which he did first. He began to support himself through his art at the age of 17 and has done so ever since. Unlike the youth of today, he learned and used hand tools exclusively – a saw, an axe, a rasp, and various files. It was only 10 years ago that he started using power tools. Each carver has a personal preference in terms of size. Some want to carve only large pieces, and others are quite content to do small works. Pudlalik normally carves relatively small to medium-sized pieces except when he goes to the quarry and is able to bring back larger pieces of stone.

He produces usually one sculpture per day, sometimes two. In what appears to be a common practice, his partner, Ita does the sanding. He says that is he had more time he would do better work, but the constant pressure of feeding his family daily restricts his ability. He does enjoy the work and would like his children to continue the carving tradition. Pudlalik is especially conscious of form with his transformation pieces, which are composites of different animals combined with a human face or figure. Many of his birds and transformation figures are finely balanced on one leg. This well-balanced, stable character is noticeable in the majority of Cape Dorset pieces and is likely attributable in part to the discriminating buyers who form their principle market.

Manning - Artworld Fine Art

Johnny Manning

Date of Birth : 30 March 1985

Place of Birth: Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay)

Residence: Cape Dorset

Style Description: Individualistic, impressionistic.

Artist Development: Johnny Manning Jr. started carving when he was 14 or 15 years old. Although his first piece started off being carved from a 20 pound piece of stone, by the time he was finished the seal was “blubberless”! He had taken away so much stone that all he was left with was a “skinny seal.”

Johnny learned to carve by watching the renowned Nunjaliaq Qimirpik when he visited Cape Dorset. Johnny would show Nunjaliaq his animals, and the older carver would say, “You are becoming pretty good!”

Today Johnny has greater dexterity and is more experienced. He uses a variety of power tools to assist him in carving, from a 7” disc grinder to an angle grinder to a Dremel tool. For the finer details, he uses his hand tools like a chisel. Johnny’s work varies from traditional to modern. With his modern work, he likes to make a statement.

Johnny likes to challenge himself by creating unique works. He works from an idea or a concept, which is a different approach from those carvers who just carve a particular animal repeatedly.

George Pitsiulak (male; b: 1929-?, deceased); Inuit sculptor; Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada.

George began carving in 1947. As a self-taught carver, he preferred to work with stone, and his favourite subjects to carve were polar bears and seals. George’s wife, Nellie, was also a carver and crafts artist. Together, they passed on their traditions and techniques for carving onto a number of their children: their daughter Jeannie Padluq, and their sons Sammy, Charlie, Kolola, Simata, Donny, Mark and Iola Pitsiulak. Their children continue to carve in the present day.