John Kavik

John Kavik
courtesy George Swinton fonds, Winnipeg Art Gallery


John Kavik was a sculptor and ceramicist from Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), NU living in the area between Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), NU and Ikaluktutiak (Cambridge Bay), NU [1]. Kavik came to carving later in life, following his experience working in mines in Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), NU.

A prominent theme in Kavik's work is the human figure, in particular his sculptures of mother and child. Kavik generally carved solitary, expressive figures and sparingly used deep grooves to denote mouths, kamiik (boots) and parkas. He frequently used small drill holes to create eyes and nostrils or the outlines of hands. Often his figures had a rough texture and were unpolished,  however, figures such as Somersaulting Man: As I Think of Myself (1964) were exceptions to this stylistic preference [2]. Kavik also worked as a ceramicist, crafting thick pieces featuring motifs of people and animals emerging from the sides of the vessel in addition to clay figures that emulated his carving style.

Kavik has been featured multiple times in the Inuit Art Quarterly and has a rich exhibition history participating in numerous group and solo shows in Canada, the United States and Japan. In 1986, Kavik had his first solo exhibition titled Sculpture by John Kavik at Craft Ontario (formerly The Guild Shop) in Toronto, ON. His work is housed in major collections including the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, ON, the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, BC, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, MB.

Artist Work

About John Kavik


Graphic Arts, Sculpture

Artistic Community:

Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet), 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.

Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), NU

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.

The Igloo Tag Trademark
The Igloo Tag Trademark is an internationally recognized symbol that denotes handmade, original artwork made by Inuit artists in Canada. Established in 1958, the Trademark is now managed by the Inuit Art Foundation. The appearance of the Igloo Tag on an artist profile means they have had the Trademark applied to their artwork.

Edit History

January 29, 2018 Updated by: Rebecca Gray
September 12, 2017 Created by: Maddy Tripp