Adam Alorut was a sculptor based in Ottawa, ON, who was known for the intricate details on his carvings. Born in Iqaluit, NU, in 1980, Alorut learned carving from his father, celebrated sculptor Morris Alorut. His early participation involved polishing stone for his father , before graduating to create his own original pieces. Although sculpture remained the mainstay of his artistic practise, Alorut eventually branched out to other areas like jewellery.
In addition to the stone and bone for which he is best known, Alorut frequently incorporated materials like antler, baleen, sinew, silver and ivory into his pieces, even adding painted inlay on occasion. The incorporation of multiple materials is one of the factors that gave Alorut his reputation for intricate detail, with sculptures featuring elements like a sinew necklace with bone beads around the neck of a small stone figure, or inlay claws and painted yellow eyes for an animal. Even when he used only one material on a piece, Alorut would individually define fish scales, long eyelashes, incised locks of hairs, and other fine details.
Thematically much of Alorut’s work, particularly later in his career, focuses on the concept of good and evil. While he did pay homage to his homelands and culture, Alorut frequently depicted mythical dragons and demonic-like figures, a definite departure from convention. Many attribute this choice of subject matter to the stories Alorut encountered as a result of living the majority of his adult life in the South. In Spirit (2018), which was acquired by the City of Ottawa in 2019, Alorut shows both sides of this practise; Sedna is visible on the top of the sculpture, while the dual faces in the centre of the whale vertebrae sport an angry expression and demonic features on one side and a happy face and humanoid features on the other.
In 2007, Alorut’s sculpture Shaman Transformation was acquired by the Canada Council Art Bank, and in 2008 the Canada Council of the Arts named him the Inuit Carver of the Year .
The National Gallery of Canada bought one of Alorut’s most significant works, Spiritual Warfare (2010), for their permanent collection in 2011. Alorut was one of five artists (alongside Manasie Akpalipik
, Maudie Okittuq
, Daniel Shimout
and Mattiusi Iyaituk) chosen to participate in the Usuaq Carving Project, a collaboration between the Walrus Foundation and TD Bank. His resulting piece, a two-foot long ushuk carving called The Fight Between Good and Evil (2017). .