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The Different Styles of Inuit Sculpture - Page 2

Keewatin Arctic Region

The area just northwest of Hudson's Bay is known as Keewatin and the most prominent Inuit art producing community here is Baker Lake which also happens to be the only inland community in the Arctic. Stone found in this region tend to be very hard basalt which is grey or black. Inuit sculptures here have a simpler and cruder appearance. They are more primitive looking with few details. Unlike the Inuit sculptures from Baffin Island, the ones from Keewatin region are not highly polished with the Inuit carvers here preferring a more dull look. Family scenes and spiritual themes such as transformation are popular here as well as musk ox since the Inuit living inland see more of these large animals than some of their counterparts elsewhere. Baker Lake is also a producer of Inuit art wall hangings.

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In addition to Baker Lake, Arviat and Rankin Inlet are some other Inuit art producing communities in this region. A note of interest is that Rankin Inlet is also the hometown of Jordan Tootoo, the first Inuit hockey player ever playing in the National Hockey League. Inuit sculptures from Arviat would probably be considered the least naturalistic of all Inuit art. However, many consider these somewhat crude carvings to have strong emotional messages to them and are therefore attractive acquisitions for some collectors.

Central Arctic Region

Inuit sculptures from Central Arctic are very similar to those from Keewatin. The Inuit artists here like to do inlay work on parts such as eyes and teeth of their subjects. They like to combine different materials such as stone, whalebone ivory and musk ox horn in their Inuit art. They also like to do lots of pieces with shamanic themes and will often feature subjects with exaggerated facial expressions. There is some surrealism to their style of Inuit art. Like their counterparts from Keewatin, carvers here leave stone unpolished. Many Inuit sculptures are also carved from whalebone since supply is more plentiful in this area. Communities represented here include Gjoa Haven, Talaoyoak, Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay) and Repulse Bay. Kugaaruk has long featured Inuit artists who like to do complex ivory miniatures but will also use antler and stone.

Map of Inuit Sculpture Regions

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