Latcholassie Akesuk


Latcholassie Akesuk was born on Anatalik Island, near Markham Bay, in what is now modern day Nunavut. Son of Tudlik, a well-known sculptor, Akesuk grew up on the land. When he began to carve he started by working primarily in stone, sculpting birds and animals. His work later became an inspiration to his granddaughter, Saimaiyu Akesuk, who recalls that seeing Latcholassie’s work encouraged her to begin drawing. When Saimaiyu began to work, her “late grandfather Latcholassie Akesuk’s carvings came to [her] mind. He used to make his birds, so that’s what [she] drew” [1].

Akesuk worked from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU, where he had a very prolific artistic career. Leaning towards abstracted forms, Akesuk’s aesthetic expression is playful and has a softness due to the curvilinear shapes he carved. At the same his works maintained a visual weight, drawing attention to their solid and robust forms carved in stone. Akesuk often scratched small details into the surface in the form of eyes and feathers, inviting a closer look at the carving.

Untitled (fish) from 1970 is an example of the simplicity of design, but also the power of minimalism. The fish is carved from serpentinite stone and utilizes the stone’s natural colours to add depth to the minimally handled forms. The fins and tail are carved so that lighter striations of the stone are visible, while the naturally darker sections make up the body and head of the fish. Colour variations add a natural luminosity and depth to the carving. The deep greens and blues with speckles and waves take on an oceanic quality, with the sculpture itself embodying the habitat the fish would be a part of; the external colours reflect an imaginary ocean-scape.

Owl (1967) shares a similar style, with a dense form, and again guided by the variations of grey colour within the stone. The striations are dense and close together, resembling a feather plumage pattern, which Akesuk uses to his advantage in depicting a playful owl. Carving the form in curves with minimal detail, and Akesuk’s awareness of his material, results in the beauty of the natural stone being given equal prominence as the owl form he has carved out of it. The impression of weight is part of the final presentation, with the owl seated, its body half tucked upon itself, a solid figure once again drawing attention to its material.

Exhibiting in national and international exhibitions, Akesuk’s long career included a Canada Council Artist Grant, as well as international recognition. His work is held in collections around the world.

Artist Work

About Latcholassie Akesuk



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.

Anatalik Island, 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.


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January 21, 2022 Created By: Lera Kotsyuba