Osuitok Ipeelee

Osuitok Ipeelee


Osuitok Ipeelee, RCA (1923–2005) was a talented artist from a Neeouleeutalik Camp, NT who later became based out of Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU. He first learned to carve by watching his father make ivory cribbage boards, which he often sold to sailors. At thirteen Ipeelee began carving toys out of leftover pieces of wood from packing crates and in his twenties he was carving ivory sculptures to sell to the Roman Catholic missionaries in Kinngait [1].

His work is easily identifiable due to the delicacy, detail, balance and unique creativity he brought to each work he produced [2]. Ipeelee also worked as a printmaker and his skills in both sculpture and printmaking led to his work being recognized as some of the best by fellow artists and collectors. Ipeelee became an instrumental part of both printmaking and sculpture becoming established art practices in Kinngait [3] and his work grew in popularity in the South.
In 1952 the National Gallery of Canada presented the exhibition Eskimo Art, which included four of his works and 1955 exhibition Eskimo Sculpture also held at the National Gallery of Canada featured six of Ipeelee’s sculptures. This began a long list of museum and gallery exhibitions around the world that have presented his sculptures and prints.

In 1955 Ipeelee was asked to take part in carving an official mace for the Council of the Northwest Territories. He was also commissioned in 1959 to carve a sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II to be given to the Queen herself upon her arrival in Canada and in 1970 commissioned by Public Workd Canada to create an inukshuk at the External Affairs Headquarters in Ottawa, ON. His major achievements include being elected as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1973 and receiving the Lifetime Aboriginal Art Achievement Award now known as the Indspire Award in 2004.

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

Osuitok Ipeelee est un artiste originaire du camp de Neeouleeutalikwas. Il apprend d’abord à sculpter en observant son père, Ohotok, puis en expérimentant à l’adolescence la sculpture sur bois et sur les autres matériaux qu’il trouve. Après avoir déménagé à Kinngait (Cape Dorset), au Nunavut, il joue un rôle crucial dans les programmes communautaires de gravure et de sculpture, créant des représentations d’animaux de l’Arctique et d’humains engagés dans des activités traditionnelles. Les caribous font partie de ses sujets de prédilection. Il façonne leurs corps élégants dans la pierre et le bois, comme dans sa pièce Standing Caribou (1985). En 1955, de concert avec Peter Pitseolak, il dirige une équipe d’artisans pour sculpter la masse officielle du Conseil des Territoires du Nord-Ouest. En 1959, il est chargé de créer une sculpture de la reine Elizabeth II, qui lui est présentée lors de sa visite au Canada la même année.
ᐅᓱᐃᑦᑐᖅ ᐊᐃᐱᓖ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᑎ ᓃᐅᓖᐅᑕᓕᒃ ᑕᒻᒫᕐᕕᐊᓂᑦ. ᓯᕗᓪᓕᖅᐹᒥᒃ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᑕᐅᑐᓪᓗᒍ ᐊᑖᑕᖓ ᐅᕼᐅᑐᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕋᓱᐊᖅᑐᓂ ᒪᒃᑯᒃᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᕿᔪᖕᓂᒃ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᑐᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓱᓇᐃᑦ ᓇᓂᔭᖓᓂᑦ. ᐅᕙᑦᑎᐊᕈᙳᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᑭᖓᓄᑦ ᓅᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ (ᑮᑉ ᑐᐊᓯᑦ), ᓄᓇᕗᑦ, ᐊᐃᐱᓖ ᐊᔪᙱᓕᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑐᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᒥ, ᑎᑎᖅᑐᒐᖅᑐᓂ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑑᑉ ᐆᒪᔪᖏᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᖏᑎᒍᑦ ᐱᙳᐊᖅᑐᓂᒃ. ᑐᒃᑐᐃᑦ ᐱᓗᐊᖅᓂᖅᓴᐅᓲᖑᔭᖏᑦ, ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᑐᒋᑦ ᑐᒃᑐᐃᑦ ᑎᒥᖏᑦ ᐅᔭᖅᑲᓂᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓇᒡᔪᓂᑦ, ᐆᑦᑑᑎᒋᓗᒍ ᓇᖏᖅᑐᖅ ᑐᒃᑐ (1985). 1955−ᖑᑎᓪᓗᒍ, ᐱᖃᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍ ᐱᑕ ᐱᑦᓯᐅᓛᖅ, ᐊᐃᐱᓖ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᑎᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᖅᑎᓂᒃ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᕐᓂᐊᕐᓗᑎᒃ ᐊᓇᐅᑕᒥᒃ ᑲᑎᒪᔨᓄᑦ ᓄᓇᑦᑎᐊᒥ. 1959−ᖑᑎᓪᓗᒍ, ᐊᑭᓕᖅᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᑐᖅ ᓴᓇᙳᐊᕐᓂᐊᕐᓗᓂ ᑯᐃᓐ ᐃᓕᓴᐱ II, ᑐᓂᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ ᑯᐃᓐᒧᑦ ᐅᐸᖕᓂᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᑲᓇᑕᒧᑦ ᐅᑭᐅᖑᓂᐊᖅᑐᒥ.

Artist Work

About Osuitok Ipeelee


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.

Neeouleeutalik Camp, 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

September 12, 2017 Created by: Evelyn Richardson-Haughey Updated by: Inuit Art Foundation