George Tataniq

George Tataniq
Gabriel Gely


George Tataniq was born in the Kazan River area in 1910. He lived a traditional life on the land hunting foxes and caribou and fishing in local rivers and lakes. In the early 1960s he travelled south tuberculosis treatment in a sanatorium.1 [No footnote online, also where was the Sand? ] When he returned to the North he settled in Qamani’tuaq, where other artists had recently taken up carving as part of an arts program organized by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Tataniq began carving soon after he arrived in Qamani’tuaq. He was hesitant to carve at first, as he would have rather been on the land hunting, but persistent arts officers encouraged Tataniq to create works as they saw promise in his early carvings.2 His work quickly became sought after and collected by individuals and institutions in the South.

Over the course of his career, Tataniq came to be known for his transformation scenes and tender depictions of mothers with children. And though he had never seen a muskox, he was compelled to carve them because of buyer’s demand. So, he based his muskox carvings on descriptions and photographs from others to create [needs quick adjectival phrase describing the blindly-made muskox carvings].

His Fox Woman, c. 1973 depicts a figure from a story he had heard from his mother. In the story a fox takes the shape of a woman to find a husband, but her plan is foiled as she leaves fox footprints in the snow. In Tataniq’s composed sculpture an upright fox wears a woman’s amauti. The figure rests on the tips of its toes and with head turned, looks to the left. Tataniq’s has rendered the figure carefully and the sloping line of the figure’s back leading one’s eyes around the dynamic composition.

Tataniq stopped carving in the mid-1980s due to poor health and passed away in Qaman’ituaqin 1991. Tataniq’s work can be found in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, Museum of Anthropology, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and many more.

Artist Work

About George Tataniq


Graphic Arts, Sculpture

Artistic Community:

Qamani'tuaq (Baker Lake), NU

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.


Date of Death:

Artists may have multiple dates of death listed as a result of when and where they passed away. Similar to date of birth, an artist may have passed away outside of a community centre or in another community resulting in different dates being recorded.

Public Collection

Art Gallery of Ontario

Edit History

December 16, 2019 Profile edited by IAQ
March 7, 2019 Publication History and Exhibition History added by Michael Olender