Luke Anowtalik

Luke Anowtalik
Ingo Hessel


Luke Anowtalik was a celebrated artist from an Ihalmiut camp near Ennadai Lake, NU. Anowtalik is known for creating small figures out of caribou antler, amorphous stone sculptures of families and colourful coloured pencil drawings. His works have been viewed as minimalist in form and surrealist in content.

Anowtalik began carving figures out of caribou antler with his figures often slightly polished and mainly featuring the cortical exterior surface of the bone. Anowtalik removes most of the outermost layer to reveal the underlying white colour using the remaining dark cortex to highlight features and define edges. Faces are engraved on a slightly angled plane using tiny holes to represent the eyes and mouth and a small protruding nose, overall altering the original form of the antler very little. They are frequently suspended on rounded pieces of bone evoking a sense of levitation. One of his larger pieces, Acrobats (late 1990s), displays several figures dangling from poles, possibly attempting to see who can hang on the longest.
In contrast to the subject matter of his antler work Anowtalik’s stone sculpture frequently revolves around the themes of family, community and the relationship of people to non-human beings. Given the infamous hardness of stone from Arviat Anowtalik’s sculpture has been significantly worked and deeply carved. During the 1970s Anowtalik produced some of his most impressive works alongside his wife with much of their work consisting of abstracted compositions of multiple heads and expressions carved in relief from stone [4]. Some of his stone figures also have incised images, such as the piece Mother and Child (late 1960s) with a caribou hunting scene on the right profile.

Towards the end of Anowtalik’s life he began to create bright, colourful pictures ranging from abstract compositions to realistic portrayals of caribou and aspects of daily life [6]. His works are held in the Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON.



2004: Featured in Farley Mowat's book People of the Deer.

1999: Sculpture appeared on the cover of the text Women and Work, Edited by Richard P. Chaykowski and Lisa M. Powell.

Artist Work

About Luke Anowtalik


Graphic Arts, Sculpture

Artistic Community:

Arviat, 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.

Kivalliq Region, NT

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 15, 2018 Updated by: Rebecca Gray
September 12, 2017 Created by: Meg Gaudon Updated by: Inuit Art Foundation