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20 Carvers to Know in 2020: Maudie Okittuq

Jan 15, 2020
by Emily Henderson

Originally from Ikpik (Thom Bay), NU and now residing in Talurjuaq (Taloyoak), NU, Maudie Okittuq was among the first in her community to begin carving and has had an established artistic practice since 1968. Beginning in whalebone, due to relatively few quarries near Talurjuaq, she soon moved onwards to stone.

Okittuq’s work has been included in solo and group shows worldwide, including the United States, France, Italy and Germany. Her pieces have also been permanently acquired by major public collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian Museum of History and the Inuit Cultural Institute in Arviat, NU. Recently, Okittuq was commissioned by The Walrus Foundation as one of five Inuit artists selected to carve a walrus bone as a part of the Usuaq Carving Project created by the foundation in partnership with TD Bank.

Many of Okittuq's pieces are reflective of shamanic practices or supernatural transformations. As in Sea Spirit Transformation, these figures are often pictured mid-metamorphosis, caught between two shapes. Although Okittuq usually carves from a single piece of stone, she has included ivory to highlight fine details on the face of this mysterious figure.

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