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Jack Nuviyak

Jack Nuviyak was an artist from Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), who was well known for his ceramics. Nuviyak was an integral member of the Matchbox Gallery, a ceramic studio in Kangiqliniq, which encouraged collaborative and multidisciplinary work. He was best known for his ceramic sculptures of polar bears, many of which formed the basis of the gallery’s most spectacular collaborative works.

He began working at the gallery in junior high school with John Kurok, with whom he worked closely throughout his career [1]. Eventually he took on a more active teaching role and helped to encourage others to explore their artistic talents. One of his best known collaborative pieces is Enchanted Bear (2013), by Nuviyak, Roger Aksadjuak, John Kurok and Leo Napayok [2].

In his solo works he often employed more colourful glazes, which stand out from the natural earth tones of most other Matchbox ceramics [3]. These pieces show the same sensitivity to human and animal figures as his bears, but also showcase his interest in proportion and skill in showing a figure’s heft and volume. He was also a talented printmaker, focusing on colourful stencil works that showcased contemporary realities in his community.

Most recently his works have been exhibited in Northern Visions: Contemporary Inuit Ceramics at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, ON in 2017 [4], and Ceramics from Rankin Inlet at the Art Gallery of Burlington in 2016 [5].


1. Inuit Art Quarterly, "In Memorium: The Inuit Art Quarterly Remembers," Inuit Art Quarterly 30, no. 3 (2017): 132-133
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Gardiner Museum, "Northern Visions: Contemporary Inuit Ceramics," accessed December 16, 2018. 

5. Art Gallery of Burlington, "Ceramics from Rankin Inlet," accessed December 16, 2018. https://artgalleryofburlington.com/past-exhibitions/rankin-inlet/