“People always tell me they can recognize my carvings by the faces,” says artist Malu Natakok of his expressive sculptures of figures, “I tell them they are just looking up and smiling or leaning in for a kiss.” With ovoid mouths and often-tilted compositions, it is difficult to miss the inherent charm and humour in the Salliq (Coral Harbour), NU, carver’s work.
Natakok began making art in 2015, inspired by other local creators who have made names for themselves as artists. Though sometimes materials for carvings are scarce in Salliq, Natakok explains that, “people from town often bring materials to me, and when I go out hunting I find caribou antler and other bones.”The artist skillfully transforms the raw materials he collects into distinctive and lively works of art.
The world Natakok has created in his work is rich and playful. A walrus about to capsize a frantic hunter in his kayak, a mother caught mid-conversation or perhaps mid-scolding with her child squirming in her amauti and another walrus resting on one flipper, as if it is in mid-yoga posture, are but a few of the varied subjects of the artist. Though his career as an artist began fairly recently, Natakok has carved a niche for himself with work that is energetic and full of life.
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