|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|George Arluk (1949) (1)|
An important Canadian Inuit (Eskimo) sculptor and carver, George Arluk was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, raised in Eskimo Point, Keewatin [now Arviat, Nunavut] (c.1949 to 1956) and Rankin Inlet, Keewatin [now Rankin Inlet, Nunavut] (c.1956 to 1975). He’s also lived in Baker Lake, Nunavut; Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut; and Churchill, Manitoba. He currently lives in Arviat. His life and work are discussed in many books on Inuit art. His carvings have been included in numerous landmark exhibitions, and they’re prized acquisitions in prominent public and private collections.
His primary medium is stone – soapstone (steatite), pipestone (catlinite), and stained stone. He’s also worked in whalebone and mixed mediums with stone such as wood and antler. His subjects are faces, heads, figures, Inuit genre (mothers with babies, grouped figures, drum dancers, hunters, etc.), animals (musk-ox, caribou, seals, bears, etc.), spirituality (shaman), and mythology. His style is Modernism*; his typical work is semi abstract involving complex patterns, reduced detail, and curving forms; the AskART images are excellent illustrations of it.
Arluk is considered self taught; although most sources note he was influenced by his father Sevuoi Aiyarani who was a carver, and by Rankin Inlet artists John Kavik, John Tiktak and John Pangnark. AskART has extensive auction records for the last three mentioned, and their influence on Arluk can be easily seen in the illustrations of their work.
For over forty years, Arluk’s carvings have been included in numerous important exhibitions, such as “Eskimo Fantastic Art”, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (1972); “The Mulders’ Collection of Eskimo Sculpture”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1976); “The Zazelenchuk Collection of Eskimo Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1978); “The Coming and Going of the Shaman: Eskimo Shamanism and Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1978); “Sculpture of the Inuit: Lorne Balshine Collection/Lou Osipov Collection/ Dr. Harry Winrob Collection”, Surrey Art Gallery, B.C. (1979); “Inuit Art in the 1970s”, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario (1979); “Rankin Inlet/ Kangirlliniq”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1981); “The Jacqui and Morris Shumiatcher Collection of Inuit Art”, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina (1981); “Useful Bits of Bone”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1987); “The Williamson Collection of Inuit Sculpture”, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina (1987); “The Swinton Collection of Inuit Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1987); “Mother and Child”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1989); “Arctic Mirror”, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec (1990); “Drawings and Sculpture from Baker Lake”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1993); “Multiple Realities: Inuit Images of Shamanic Transformation”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1993); “The Inuit Imagination”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1994); “Arctic Spirit: 35 Years of Canadian Inuit Art”, Frye Art Museum, Seattle (1994); “Transitions: Contemporary Canadian Indian and Inuit Art”, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris (1997); and “Inuit Art in Motion”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2005). (2)
Recently, his works were included in “Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection”, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); and currently they’re in “Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery (January 25, 2013 to April 14, 2013).
He’s been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba (1968); University of Alberta, Edmonton (1969); and Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec, Montreal (1980).
Arluk’s works have also frequently been included in solo and group exhibitions at many prominent commercial galleries, such as Arctic Artistry, Scarsdale, New York; Richard Rapfogel Fine Arts, Saint Louis, Missouri; Snow Goose Associates, Seattle, Washington; Images of the North, San Francisco; Albers Gallery, San Francisco; Contempo Westwood Center, Los Angeles; Northern Reflections Eskimo Art Gallery, La Jolla, California; Lippel Gallery, Montreal; Inuit Gallery of Eskimo Art, Toronto; Kofler Gallery, Toronto; Canadiana Galleries, Edmonton; Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, B.C.; Four Winds Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Inuit Gallery, Mannheim, Germany; Galerie La Poutre, Marseille, France; Galerie Autre Regard, Paris, France; and Narwhal Gallery, London, England.
His works are in numerous important private collections (see exhibitions and books) and museum collections. According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, Arluk’s museum collectors include the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau, Quebec), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Ethnological Museum Berlin (Germany), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum of Anthropology (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
(1) Please note: The Canadian Heritage Information Network* and Katilvik.com list several alternate names for this artist; they are: George Arloo, George Arlooq, George Arlook, George Arlu and Aiyarani Arluk. Combinations of two of these names may also be used without the first name George. There is also his Canadian government issued Inuit Disc Number* – E31049 – which may be used to sign works, and his signature in syllabics*, which may also be used to sign works. For an illustration of Arluk’s name spelled in syllabics please see AskART Signature Examples. MDS
(2) For those who may wonder why there are so many major exhibitions of Inuit art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery – ‘With over 10,700 works, the Winnipeg Art Gallery is home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.’ Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia (online).
Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art (2012), edited by Darlene Coward Wight (see AskART book references)
Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)
Sculpture of the Inuit (2000), by George Swinton (see AskART book references)
Inuit Art: A History (2000), by Richard C. Crandall (see AskART book references)
Native American Art: The Collections of the Ethnological Museum Berlin (1999), by Peter Bolz and Hans-Ulrich Sanner (see AskART book references)
Inuit Art: An Introduction (1998), by Ingo Hessel, Dieter Hessel (see AskART book references)
Biographies of Inuit Artists (1993), compiled and published by the Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs (see AskART book references)
The Inuit Imagination: Arctic Myth and Sculpture (1993), by Harold Seidelman and James Turner (see AskART book references)
Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)
Inuit Art: An Anthology (1988), by Alma Houston, et al (see AskART book references)
The Canadian Encyclopedia Second Edition (1988), edited by James H. Marsh (see AskART book references)
Sculpture of the Eskimo (1972), by George Swinton (see AskART book references)
Canadian Heritage Information Network* (biography, museums)
National Gallery of Canada (library and exhibitions records)
Art Gallery of Ontario (book and catalogue summaries online)
Katilvik.com (biography, exhibitions)
Simon Fraser University (library records)
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com. Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx.
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.
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