Kellypalik Qimirpik

Kellypalik Qimirpik
Photo Ernie Bies


Kellypalik Qimirpik (1948-2017) was a sculptor based out of Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU [1]. Born in Ikirasaq, he first learned to carve as a teenager from his brother Allashua Atsiaq and began developing his artistic practice in his twenties [2]. Qimirpik’s sculptures were generally voluminous but capably balanced the weight of the stone without becoming overwhelmed by the density of the material. He is known for his depictions of dancing wildlife and transformative compositions with human faces emerging from the stone.

Qimirpik’s style tended towards realism in his depictions of wildlife. Walrus and musk oxen were among the most common subjects of his carvings.  In addition to wildlife, Qimirpik produced several artworks that prominently feature human faces and heads. Qimirpik’s heads are typically elongated and feature large, triangular noses. His piece Shaman portrays the bust of a man with squat, clawed feet emerging from either side of his cheeks and a tiny tail protruding from behind. The bust also displays large ears and an open mouth, perhaps illustrating the shaman’s abilities of communication. Qimirpik’s transformation and shaman pieces tend to combine human features with one or more animals amalgamated into a single figure, playing with distorted senses of anatomy and scale. The facial features of his figures are either superficially incised or deeply engraved, often accentuating a tongue or teeth. Qimirpik has also produced sculpture that documented his personal experiences as an artist [3]. The carving Man Carrying Stone (2010) depicts a man who appears to have just visited the quarry, a chunk of rock over one shoulder and holding a pickaxe in his other hand. The fragment of stone is unworked, contrasting the polished figure. Such works depict the daily realities Qimirpik and others experienced as carvers.  

In 2002 Qimirpik was involved in a large sculptural project in the Toronto Inukshuk Park (formerly Battery Park). He created a 30-foot high inukshuk sculpture that was installed to commemorate World Youth Day and the visit of Pope John Paul II to Toronto [4]. Qimirpik designed and carved each of the sculptural components from 50 tonnes of Ontarian rose granite [5]. The final sculpture is considered to be one of the largest of its kind in North America [6].

Qimirpik’s work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally including Masters of the Arctic: An Exhibition of Contemporary Inuit Masterworks, a decade-long touring exhibition inaugurated at the United Nations in New York City in 1989. His works are also held in the permanent collections of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, MB and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON. 



2002: Carved a 30 foot high Inukshuk that was installed in the Toronto Inukshuk Park to commemorate World Youth Day.

1993: Attended a sculpture workshop held by the Inuit Art Foundation at the Carving Studio in Vermont.

Artist Work

About Kellypalik Qimirpik


Sculpture, Visual Arts

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.

Iqirasaq, NU
16 December 1948

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 22, 2018 Updated by: Rebecca Gray
September 12, 2017 Created by: Valerie Senechal Updated by: Inuit Art Foundation