Inuit art: Inuk Camping Scene
Inuit Artist: Emily Illuitok (1943-2012)
Size: 8" wide, 7.5" tall
Community: Kugaaruk, NU
Stone: Ivory / Whale bone (base)
Emily Illuitok was a pillar for Inuit art. Among the same infamous circles as Kenojuak Ashevak, Axangayuk Shaa & Tukiki Manomie, Illuitok has put her community on the map with her inspirational Eskimo and wildlife scenes. Her traditional approach to her craft was inspired by her own survivalship in the bitter cold and harshness of the Canadian Arctic.
This carving immediately caught my attention when I first saw it. It is not often I find a carving that leaves a lasting impression on me after only seeing it for a few seconds. It is a piece that defies Time.
In this camp setting of simplicity and dark sophistication, the subjects appear here and there like figures from an allegory, or long dead celebrants from some forgotten garden party.
This piece really speaks for itself. The tranquility of the setting captivates the northern way of life perfectly. The combination of bone, ivory and hair draw this piece out of its scene into reality. All three elements come together beautifully which is what makes it so captivating. This sculpture has the style and quality of a piece you will one day see in a high end Inuit art auction show.
This piece undoubtedly belongs in a museum. It is one of the most incredible sculptures I have ever seen. For these reasons alone, I put this piece into the masterpiece category.
As mentioned, each Inuk is exquisitely handcrafted from Ivory. The base that they are working in is made from whalebone.
This is comes with an Igloo tag and is legal for sale within all Canadian provinces and territories.
Born in Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay), Nunavut in 1923, Emily Illuitok has become one of Nunavut`s most original and recognizable carvers. Her miniature scenes of hunting, fishing, dog sledding are unlike any other carver in terms of style and quality.
Emily preferred to carve in fragile materials such as whalebone or caribou antler for the base and walrus ivory for the figures. Using these materials creates a contrast of textures which is visually very appealing. She uses the natural form of the material to its highest potential, letting the raw structure dictate the final product. Her compositions are typically monochromatic in white which complements her snowy scenes perfectly. An Inuit man kneeling in a parka ice fishing while a polar bear looks on is pleasant in its simplicity and honesty.
Figures are simplified to their essential forms. Birds are often seen flying overhead while being securely attached to the base. Emily`s carvings are always grounded and true to life. Dog team expeditions march with sacks on their backs in the hunt for a polar bear or seals.
Holding a piece by Emily means participating in the narrative of traditional Inuit life. Her figures are doll like in appearance which adds to their overall charm. It is no wonder Emily was chosen to present an ivory nativity scene for Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. Her sons, Liederik and Michael Illuitok, are both artists in Pelly Bay who have followed in their mother`s footsteps.