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Kupapik Ningeocheak

Jan 09, 2020
by Emily Henderson

In a career spanning almost 25 years, played out over communities across Nunavut, carver Kupapik Ningeocheak has created a body of work that includes everything from arctic animals to hockey players. In fact, in 2000 the National Hockey League commissioned the artist to create Inuk Player (2000) for the Visions of Hockey collection, a fitting addition from the artist who himself was a recreational director for hockey programs in Sanikiluaq, NU.

Aside from figures of sport, Ningeocheak focuses primarily on depicting birds, owls, muskoxen and transformation scenes. He credits some of his mentors for their inspiration to make transformation and spiritual scenes. “I started carving with George Arluk and Alex Alikashuak,” he says of his early career. “They made transformations and abstract things and I began to make them too.”

Now an established artist, Ningeocheak has developed his own unique style characterized by artworks that carry incredible mass and presence. His owls are squat, with balloon-round heads and beady, inset eyes. With deep-set sockets and heavy brows, the faces of the artist’s transformation figures are often mysterious, their lack of detail leaving room for intrigue. Ningeocheak currently lives in Salliq (Coral Harbour), NU, and uses the tough local stone. He quarries his own and when he finds a good deposit, he keeps the location a secret, “but the other artists always hear anyways.”

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