Jamasee Pitseolak

Jamasee Pitseolak


Jamasee Pitseolak is a talented carver, printmaker and illustrator based out of Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU. Pitseolak began carving professionally at the Kinngait Studios during the 1990s [1] and while feeling stagnant and dissatisfied with the expectations surrounding “Inuit Art” and his disconnect from what he was making, Pitseolak began carving electric guitars and miniatures [2]. His works are touching, humorous and at times painful mementos of life in northern communities. 

Characteristic qualities of Pitseolak’s sculpture include the use of stylistic realism and puns to portray absurd subjects, the predominant use of serpentine and the depiction of objects rather than figures. Though he began by carving his sculptures out of a single piece of stone Pitseolak felt that these lacked necessary vibrancy and animation. He began to create composite sculptures, assembling his works from numerous smaller carved components [3]. Pitseolak’s preoccupation with the aesthetics of manufacture motivated him to use different colours, textures and materials to highlight the individual elements creating contrast within the sculpture as a whole. The care and time that Pitseolak invests in the production of each sculpture parallels the expedient objects that his carvings represent. His carvings are a physical manifestation of the memories and emotions that can become inseparable from everyday items, growing beyond utilitarian functions to become objects with history and agency. Pitseolak’s iconic motorcycle sculptures exemplify his creative process. Although motorcycles are uncommon in northern communities his “choppers” incorporate motifs of Inuit oral traditions and experiences [4].

Pitseolak’s first solo exhibition Jamasie Pitseolak: Sculptures, Drawings, Prints took place at the Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver, BC in 2011. The exhibition featured thematically positive and dark works retrospective of Pitseolak’s life. Pitseolak has exhibited his work across Canada and internationally and was part of the 2017 Canadian Biennial [5]. His works are held in the Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC, the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada.
Ce projet est financé en partie par le gouvernement du Canada.

Jamasee Pitseolak est un sculpteur, graveur et illustrateur de Kinngait (Cape Dorset) au Nunavut. Il est surtout connu pour ses sculptures détaillées de guitares électriques, de motocyclettes et de miniatures. Ses œuvres sont des pièces composites assemblées à partir de multiples éléments plus petits, eux-mêmes sculptés, et incorporent souvent des jeux de mots et des calembours. Ses sculptures relient des souvenirs et des émotions à des articles du quotidien, les transformant en des objets assortis d’une histoire et d’une agentivité. Les œuvres de Pitseolak font partie des collections du Musée canadien de l’histoire à Gatineau (Québec), du Musée des beaux-arts de Winnipeg (Manitoba), du Musée d’anthropologie de Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique) et du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada à Ottawa (Ontario).
ᔭᐃᒥᓯ ᐱᑦᓯᐅᓛᖅ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᑎ, ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᒐᔅᓴᓄᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑎ ᑭᙵᕐᒥᐅᑕᖅ (ᑮᑉ ᑐᐊᓯᑦ), ᓄᓇᕗᑦ. ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᑦᑎᐊᕐᓂᖅᓴᐅᔪᖅ ᑐᑭᖃᑦᑎᐊᕐᓂᖓ ᒋᑖᓄᑦ ᑯᒃᑭᑦᑕᐹᓄᑦ, ᒪᕐᕉᒃ ᐊᒃᓴᓗᐊᓕᓐᓄᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᒥᑭᔫᑎᓄᑦ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᓄᑦ. ᐱᑦᓯᐅᓛᖅ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᖏᑦ ᐊᕕᒃᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᐃᑦ ᑲᑎᙵᔪᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᒌᙱᑦᑐᓂᒃ ᒥᑭᓂᖅᓴᐃᑦ ᓴᓇᐊᒐᐃᑦ, ᐱᔾᔪᑎᖃᓗᐊᖅᑐᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑲᓂᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐱᙳᐊᕈᓰᑦ ᑎᑎᖅᑲᓂᒃ. ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᖏᑦ ᑲᑎᔾᔪᑎᖃᖅᑐᑦ ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᔭᐅᔪᓂᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᑉᐱᒋᔭᐅᔪᓂᒃ ᖃᐅᑕᒫᒧᑦ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᖃᖅᑐᓂᒃ, ᓱᓇᙳᖅᑐᒋᑦ ᐱᓐᓂᑰᓯᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᖃᓄᐃᓐᓂᕆᔭᖓᓄᑦ ᐱᓯᒪᓐᓂᑯᓂᑦ. ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᖏᑦ ᐱᓯᒪᔭᐅᔪᑦ ᑲᑎᖅᓱᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ ᑕᑯᒐᓐᓈᒐᖃᕐᕕᒃ ᐃᑦᑕᕐᓂᑕᐃᑦ ᒐᑎᓅ, ᑯᐱᒃᒥ, ᕕᓂᐲᒃ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᒐᐃᑦ ᑕᑯᒐᓐᓈᒐᖃᕐᕕᒃ ᒫᓂᑐᐸ, ᑕᑯᒐᓐᓈᒐᖃᕐᕕᒃ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᓕᕆᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᕚᓐᑰᕗ, ᐳᕆᑎᔅ ᑲᓚᒻᐱᐊ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ ᑕᑯᒐᓐᓈᒐᖃᕐᕕᒃ ᐋᑐᕙ, ᐋᓐᑎᐅᕆᔫᒥ.

Artist Work

About Jamasee Pitseolak


Graphic Arts, Sculpture

Artistic Community:

Kinngait (Cape Dorset), 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.

Iqaluit, NU

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February 12, 2018 Created By: Rebecca Gray