Pudalik Shaa is a prolific sculptor from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU, who hails from a family of talented carvers. Inspired by the practice of his father, Aqjangayuk Shaa (1937 - 2019), Pudalik began carving at the age of 12, selling his first piece for a modest sum in that same year. By age 17, he was able to support himself through his art and has done so ever since . As he learned by watching the elders carve around him, Shaa exclusively used hand tools in his earliest productions – a saw, an axe, a rasp, and various files included. Now, he chooses to embrace the efficiency and precision that power tools can provide .
Shaa’s favourite subjects to sculpt are figures caught in mid-motion, seen across his oeuvre of smaller works. This desire to bring forth dynamism and energy is captured in Composition (2010), a transformation piece in which a new body is shown taking shape. Here, the artist concentrates on the fluid nature of forms as he fuses his drum dancer to the heads of a walrus, hawk and goose. As with many of his other works, this figure in Compositon balances finely atop a single leg, highlighting Shaa’s artistic skill and deep knowledge of his materials .
An active member in his community, Shaa fondly recalls forming a carving group with his peers in Kinngait, sharing tools and producing art side by side. Recently, the artist pursued further studies in his craft and received a diploma in carving from Arctic College in Kimmirut (Lake Harbor), NU .
1. Kyra Vladykov Fisher, “Pudlalik Shaa,” Guide to Cape Dorset Artists, (Cape Dorset, NU: Municipality of Cape Dorset, 2008), 230.
2. Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, “Pudlalik Shaa,” Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, https://www.coastalpeoples.com/archive-artist/?a=pudlalik-shaa.
4. Fisher, “Pudlalik Shaa,” Guide, 231.