Looty Pijamini is a celebrated sculptor and artist from Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River), NU who is currently based out of Ausuittuq (Grise Fiord), NU. Starting his artistic practice at a young age, Pijamini began carving at age 15. Working most often with local materials such as ivory and granite, he later developed an interest in precious metals and took part in a two-year diploma program in Metalwork and Jewellery at the Nunavut Arctic College.
Though his most noted works are sculptural, Pijamini works with a variety of mediums such as stone, metal, caribou antler, muskox horn, narwhal tusk, fiberglass and printmaking . His work often revolves around themes of Inuit life and sovereignty in addition to involving difficult discussions such as Inuit exiles, challenging living conditions and government structures that have negatively impacted Inuit ways of living. In arguably his most iconic work, The Stone Monument of the Grise Fiord Exiles (2010), Pijamini depicts a visibly unhappy Inuk woman, her son and a husky looking out towards the Ocean. This large-scale sculpture honours the Inuit, commonly known as High Arctic Exiles, who were relocated to Kangiqtugaapik from Inukjuak, QC by the Canadian government to assert Canadian sovereignty in the North, And, to echo the overall negative impact Inuit relocation had on community .
Pijamini has exhibited his work across the country at institutions such as the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ON. His works are included in international collections in Greece, Mexico and the United States. Pijamini has received many accolades for his word including winning First Prize in the Eastern Arctic Competition at the 1996 Great Northern Arts Festival . His work has appeared in numerous publications including the Inuit Art Quarterly, The Toronto Star and Canadian Geographic, among others.
1. “Arctic Exile Monument Project: Looty Pijamini,” Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., accessed July 16, 2018, http://www.tunngavik.com/blog/initiative_pages/arctic-exile-monument-project/artists/looty-pijamini.
2. “High Arctic exiles to be honoured,” CBC News, September 6, 2010, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/high-arctic-exiles-to-be-honoured-1.868063.
3. “Arctic Exile Monument Project: Looty Pijamini.”