Inuit Art – arthropod style

Thought I would do a quick post from Cambridge Bay – I have managed to find some decent WIFI so I am taking advantage this morning! Once I am back south, I will post more detailed accounts of my adventures in the Arctic.

Inuit carvers are known world-wide for their depictions of Muskox, polar bears, seals, and other wildlife.  “Bugs”, however, are rare as pieces of art from the Inuit. I was therefore thrilled to see a mosquito made from sealskin at a shop in Cambridge Bay, made by a local artist. It’s a wonderful depiction! And the mozzie looks almost cute and cuddly….

Sealskin mosquito

Sealskin mosquito

Another local carver, Johnny, comes by our place with some regularity. Earlier this week I chatted with him about my interest in insects and spiders and he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. “I’ve never done any bugs before, let me think about that” were his words.  I believed him – I have travelled in the Arctic quite a bit, and have never come across a carving that depicts arthropods.

Last night there was a knock at the door. Johnny approached, holding out his arthropod, made from caribou antlers. WOW. I was so touched that he went away and worked on this carving for me. To me, it looks like a spider, which is quite fitting.

Inuit carving of an arthropod (a spider, in my opinion!)

Inuit carving of an arthropod (a spider, in my opinion!)

 

UPDATE (11 Aug) - Johnny came by the house again last night. He allowed me to take his picture, and I’ll share it with you, here.

The artist: Johnny Udlaoyak Jr., of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

The artist: Johnny Udlaoyak Jr., of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

 

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5 thoughts on “Inuit Art – arthropod style

  1. Inuit carvings are one of my favourite things after living in the NWT for a few years. My house (now in Ontario) is chic-a-bloc with bone/soapstone carvings and stuffed owls made out of sealskin.

    One very cold day, I met a newly arrived Englishman who was shivering like a wet dog, so I gave him my beautiful handmade parka. Funny thing is… I never regretted doing that, even though I haven’t laid eyes on him in nearly 20 years, because I now know one more human knows the quality that can come from the expert hands of the people.

  2. Pingback: Arctic reflections (Part 1) | Arthropod Ecology

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