Inuit art: Family
Inuit Artist: Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok
Size: 8" tall, 7" wide, 7" deep, 8 lbs
Community: Baker Lake, NU
This is an extremely important piece in regards to the development of inuit art. The late Lucy Tasseor is among the first or second generation of Inuit carvers who pioneered the entire industry back in the 1960's & 70's.
This work's poignancy can be partly explained by its relative rawness; in the sense it resembles some of the great emotive sculptures created by artists from the isolated community of Arviat.
This composition of faces is of first generation Eskimo art. Its rendition is done in a minimalist format, a standard theme for this generation of carvers. The rudimentary lines and proportions are done in a 2-dimensional effect which achieves a sense of rawness and naturalistic beauty.
Her family sculptures are her signature and indistinguishable to any other form of inuit art. in some ways, they are very raw and traditional, but viewed from another angel, they are ultra modern and minimalist. In any case, they are absolutely gorgeous and I did not hesitate when I saw this.
Included in the 1970 Sculpture Exhibition organized as part of the Centennial for the Northwest Territories, Lucy Tasseor was also one of the Keewatin (tundra) artists selected for the key exhibition, “Sculpture/Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic”, which toured internationally from 1971-1973. Immediately recognizable for her signature style, the artist has long been regarded as one of the principal exponents of the austere minimalist style that we have associated with the community of Arviat—and she has continued to show extensively at a national/international level for the last three and a half decades.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery, 2005
“Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok was born just south of the N.W.T. border in Nunalla, Manitoba in 1934. After her father’s death Tasseor lived with her grandparents in and around Nunalla and Churchill. Tasseor married Richard Tutsweetok in Rankin Inlet in 1960, and moved to Arviat, N.W.T. soon after. She began carving in the early 1960s.
Tasseor drew inspiration from the memories of sand drawings that she and her grandfather (whom she considers to be the greatest influence on her life) had made when she was a child. Her sculptures, representing mothers and children or family groups, are carved in a semi-abstract style in which the human figure is rarely defined. Tasseor works the stone very sparingly, leaving large undulating surfaces uncarved, decorated with incised drawings. For Tasseor, a flat stone plane has as much expressive power as a face. Human subjects are suggested by faces, arms and legs that emerge from the stone, often only along the edges of the carving. Subtle variations in the positioning or expression of heads and faces provide clues to understanding the meaning of specific sculptures. Tasseor herself assigns very specific meanings or moods to each of her works.”
Excerpt from “Visions of Power”, Ingo Hessel, 1991.