Uriash Puqiqnak, born in an igloo made of snow in Ukkusiksalik. had never seen a house until he came to Uqsuqtuuqin (Gjoa Haven). "We went hungry in 1957 because there was no food. We were travelling from Ukkusiksalik to Uqsuqtuuq area for survival. Because of hunger, we were walking in the blizzard, a harsh snowstorm..... For Inuit, survival is the most important thing in life. Without outside help, our parents survived and knew the techniques of survival in their immediate environment. My parent, my mother, from what I remember, would fish all night long so that her children will have food to eat. She worked so hard so that we can survive, so that we will not die of starvation or have clothing for us.... We have risen because of the hard work of our ancestors. We should not forget Inuit culture and tradition and their way of survival, wisdom, desire.
Owl - This dancing, hooting, figure with mesmerizing eyes is carved in serpentine stone.
One of the most important artists of Cape Dorset, Padlaya (Palaya) was born in Cape Dorset in 1965 and began carving around 1977. He learned from his father, well-known sculptor and printmaker, Lukta Qiatsuq.
I like to carve transformations. That`s one of my favourite themes, and shamanism...when I do transformation or shamanism carvings, I 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.
Sedna - A wealth of hair radiatdes around the head of this wonderfully relaxed reclining figure. The serpentine stone carving is by Sii Ashoona, grandson of carver Kingwatsiak Ashoona, from Kinngait, Cape Dorset.
Bear Shaman - A dramatically mysterious figure with its suggestion of a fingered wing, this bear in kamik boots is carved from black serpentine stone and has inlaid eyes and fangs.
One of the most renowned female Inuit carvers, Maudie Ohiktook was born at Thom Bay on the eastern Boothia Peninsula. She began carving in 1968 together with her husband, James Ohiktook and is one of the few artists who started carving in the 60`s who still continues to produce powerful art today.
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.
Ning Ashoona is one of the few Inuit women carvers in Cape Dorset. She started to carve at the age of 14 and carves a range of subjects, using both hand and power tools. She being highly diverse in the carvings she produces. “I will carve until I can’t do it anymore, because I enjoy it.”