Iola Abraham Ikkidluak
A fierce advocate for Inuit artists and the practice of traditional lifestyles, Iola Abraham Ikkidluak (1936-2003) expressed his values through the making and selling of his own art. Hailing from the community of Kimmirut, NU, Ikkidluak spent the majority of his time carving and being out on the land. As a sculptor, he portrayed a wide range of subject matter from smaller, delicate birds to much larger pieces of shamanic spirit transformations . Ikkidluak’s sculptures are recognized for their dynamic movements and animated expressions, carved into the locally sourced serpentine.
“Transformation” (2000) features one of the most consistent themes across the artist’s body of work. By including multiple animal features within a single being, the artist is able to communicate the rapid changes in body and spirit that are taking place. The hybrid figure snarls through his polar bear teeth, while sprouting caribou antlers from his head. Putting up its webbed hands, steadying itself on human-like feet, it sternly prepares to defend. Ikkidluak denotes variances in texture as he leaves his character’s mock fur accessories in an unpolished and gnarled state.
Due to his experience on the land, Ikkidluak was known by many as a reliable guide for the Kimmirut area, occasionally training fishery and wildlife officers from the Government of Nunavut how to best navigate and protect spaces that are cherished by Inuit . Ikkidluak’s sculptures have been included in many exhibitions, most notably touring throughout North America from 1979-1981 in the Smithsonian Institution show, By the Light of the Qulliq. Other works by Ikkidluak have found homes in permanent collections such as the Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa, ON, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Manitoba, and have appeared on the cover of the Fall 1988 issue of Inuit Art Quarterly.
1. “Iola Abraham Ikkidluak (1936-2003).” Spirit Wrestler Gallery, accessed August 14, 2019.