Inuktitut meaning: There is a house here
Igloolik is situated on an island adjacent to the flat expanse of the Melville Peninsula's eastern coastal plain in Nunavut. The establishment of a Roman Catholic Mission in the 1930s brought the first permanent southerners to Igloolik. The settlement has long been off the beaten track for tourists in the eastern Arctic. Today, whether you come to see its people, wildlife or a wilderness vastly different from Baffin Island's craggy peaks and fiords, you will find a region rich in its own treasures that are well-worth exploring.
Igloolik is not only the geographic centre of Nunavut, but it is also widely considered the cultural hub of Nunavut. Ancient ties to northern and southern Baffin Island, as well as the Kivalliq and eastern Kitikmeot regions, contribute to the distinct mix of Inuit cultural traditions practised and nurtured in Igloolik today.
Natural resources that are key to Inuit culture are abundant in the region, and include walruses, seals, whales, polar bears and caribou.
Igloolik sculptures have much in common, stylistically, with those of Pangnirtung, in terms of scale, subject matter and aesthetics. The drama of the hunt and the emotional intensity of mythological subjects are depicted in large, strongly realistic works.
Esa Kripanik is a master carver from Igloolik, and is known for working with a hard, white arctic stone very similar to marble, into which carves surface drawings of other animals. The three polar bear carvings have etchings of seals and other arctic animals on their bodies. All three pieces embody the power and incomparable charisma of “Nanuq,” as well as the importance of his relationship to the other animals (etched on the surfaces) with which he shares his world.
Igloolik stone is mostly dull grey. Naturalistic details are vigorously carved but not polished. The light green stone used in some sculptures is imported from the Mary River deposit on Baffin Island. One well-known Igloolik artist is Celina Iyyiraq.