Old Qulliq Being Carried by a WomanOld Qulliq Being Carried by a Woman Discussions and exhibitions of art by Inuit from Nunavik are usually focused on the larger communities of Inukjuak and Puvirnituq. This exhibition features sculpture that has been created in several of the smaller Inuit communities located above the 60th parallel on the Ungava Peninsula in the region of Nunavik, Northern Quebec.

Carvers who originally lived in camps near Inukjuak and Puvirnituq were the first to create sculpture for export to southern markets in the early 1950s. This is now considered the beginning of “contemporary” Inuit art and the carving industry in the Canadian Arctic which was gradually expanded to other areas. That artistic expansion included the small, more northerly Nunavik communities of Salluit, Ivujivik, Kangirsuk, Kangiqsujuaq, and Akulivik. There are many treasures from these lesser-known communities in the WAG’s collection of Inuit art and this exhibition will be an opportunity to see works that are not exhibited as often as those from larger artistic centres such as Cape Dorset and Baker Lake.

One of the best-known artists in the exhibition is Mattiusi Iyaituk (b. 1950) from Ivujivik, represented by the innovative sculpture Old Qulliq Carried by a Woman. Thomassie Kudluk from Kangirsuk (1910-1989) is well-known for his idiosyncratic carvings that communicate to the viewer through syllabic inscriptions. Makusikalla Qullialu (1930-1989) is not as well known, but his large sculpture, Caribou and Otter demonstrates his talent in this moving, anthropomorphic interpretation. The exhibition features sculptures dating from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s, by male and female carvers from all the small, northerly communities in Nunavik.

Darlene Coward Wight, Curator of Inuit Art