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20 Carvers to Know in 2020: Pitseolak Qimirpik

Jan 14, 2020
by Jessica MacDonald

Sitting at the helm of a surging generation of Inuit artists who are reconfiguring their position onto history, traditional media, and narrative figuration, Pitseolak Qimirpik is known for the way he fuses pop-culture signifiers with traditional carving. Based in Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU, Qimirpik learned to carve by observing and assisting his father, the renowned sculptor Kellypalik Qimirpik, and first took up his tools at age thirteen. 

Qimirpik presents his sense of humour through playful depictions of northern fauna, with walruses that joyfully kick their flippers up and rabbits that dance to hip-hop music. In his blend of traditional Inuit carving techniques and new technology, power tools make frequent appearances, as both Qimirpik’s carving implement of choice and as subject matter. 

Carver Making Sculpture gives the viewer both a highly polished finished piece and a roughly hewn work in progress, with a finely wrought drill between them. Qimirpik’s incredible technical precision is on display in the thin electrical cord he has coaxed out of stone. The piece is at once a self-portrait and a commentary on how much has changed since Inuit first began carving. 

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