13" Ivory Seagulls on the beach by the late Famous Emily Illuitok (1943 - 2012)

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Emily Illuitok

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Inuit art: Ivory Seagulls on the Beach 
Inuit Artist:  Emily Illuitok
Size: 13" wide, 6" tall. 3.25" deep Weight: 4 lbs
Community: Kugaaruk, NU
Stone: Ivory /  Whale bone (base)

A historically important piece; "seagulls on a beach" - Emily Illuitok (1943 - 2012)

Note to Buyers outside of Canada

This piece is for sale to Canadian residents only. Due to its Ivory substance, this piece is restricted for sale to all residents outside of Canada. 

IlluitokTo understand the servitude and significance of Illuitok to Canadian art, the National Gallery of Canada devoted one of her pieces to the museum.

Her ability to perform intricate scenes that captured the essence, rawness and spiritedness of the arctic is what rendered her to fame at an international level. The bravido, finesse, coloration and grandeur of his prints are nothing. Her pieces capture a sense of timelessness that captures the nostalgia surrounding Inuit life.

When I saw this piece, I immediately became very excited to own it. It is not often I find a carving that leaves a lasting impression on me after only seeing it for a few seconds.

This pieces really speaks for itself. The tranquility of the setting captivates very much the northern ocean shores of the north. Each bird is so delicately made to perfection. The rounded and smooth edges of the ivory seagulls contrast beautifully to the rough edges of the cliff made from whale bone. Both elements come together beautifully.

I have no doubt that this piece belongs in a museum. It is one of the nicest sculptures I have ever seen. For these reasons alone, I put this piece into the masterpiece category and I was very lucky to stumble upon it.

As mentioned, each seagull is exquisitely handcrafted from Ivory. The cliff that they are nesting in is made from whalebone.


Emily Illuitok, a well-known carver, died in her home in Kugaaruk on Feb. 12 from lung cancer at age 69. She helped us raised our children. She helped us keep them. She helped so much in every way she could."

She added, for instance, Emily, who started carving in 1967 to support her family, would share with her children any money she made selling carvings. "She loved everybody and helped everybody so much and she was always smiling to everybody anywhere she went," she said. "She helped us raised our children. She helped us keep them. She helped so much in every way she could."

Emily was born on Jan. 24, 1943 near Kugaaruk and lived in the Kitikmeot community all her life. Emily carved an ivory nativity scene for Pope Benedict XVI about five years ago.

Tom Chapman, vice-chairman of the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association, said Emily is a pioneer in many regards, with nothing equal in quality to her carvings. She would depict dog sledding, dog teams, camp and family scenes.

"Her working of ivory was just unlike anything that has been seen for decades coming out of the North," he said. "Her work was very easily recognized amongst collectors for the quality, for the theme. She was not only a great sculptor in her own right, she made just outstanding sculpted jewelry out of ivory, things that weren't nearly as prominent in the market or didn't have the exposure."

He added Emily and the quality of work she produced will be sorely missed.

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