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 Charlie Inukpuk  (1941 - )

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Lived/Active: Quebec / Canada      Known for: Inuit sculpture, carving, figure, portrait, animals, shamans, doll heads, nomads

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E9906 is primarily known as Charlie Inukpuk

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charlie Inukpuk (1941) (1)

A prominent Inuit* carver, Charlie Inukpuk (aka: Alakarialak Inukpuk) was born in Quaqtaq, Quebec and raised in Inukjuak (aka: Port Harrison or Inoucdjouac) Quebec, where his family settled in the early 1950s and where he lives today (2013). Inukpuk’s works have been included in numerous exhibitions and they are in the permanent collections of several important Canadian museums. (2)

His mediums were soapstone and walrus ivory. His subjects included mother and child, portraits, figures, animals, shamans, and Inuit genre* (e.g. nomadic life, family activities, hunting, fishing, etc.). He also carved soapstone doll heads for his wife, Elisapee Inukpuk. Charlie Inukpuk’s style is described as Primitive Art* or Inuit Art*. AskART images have many good illustrations of his work.

Inukpuk began carving as a child in 1950s. Like many Inuit artists, he is largely self-taught. However, his father Johnny Inukpuk (see AskART) was an important carver and Charlie acknowledges he learned from watching his father and other carvers. For more information about the origin and inspiration of Inuit Art* see the AskART glossary entry for Inuit Art*.

From the mid 1960s until shortly after he gave up carving full time, for financial reasons, in the 1980s Inukpuk’s carvings were included in important exhibitions, such as “Eskimo Sculpture”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1967); “The Bessie Bulman Collection”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1973); “Port Harrison/Inoucdjouac”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1976); “Eskimo Narrative”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1979); “Inuit Sculpture from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene B. Power”, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (1979); “Rothmans' Collection of Inuit Sculpture”, Kitchener –  Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario (1979); “Inuit Art: A Selection of Inuit Art from the Collection of the National Museum of Man, Ottawa, and the Rothmans Permanent Collection of Inuit Sculpture, Canada”, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec (1981 – 1982); “Contemporary Indian and Inuit Art of Canada”, United Nations Building, New York City (1983 – 1985); “Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1985); “Northern Exposure: Inuit Images of Travel”, Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, B.C. (1986); and “Arctic Mirror”, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec (1990).

His works have also been included in solo and group exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries, such as Robertson Galleries, Ottawa; Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal; Feheley Fine Arts, Toronto; Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, B.C.; Arctic Artistry, Scarsdale, New York; Newman Galleries, Philadelphia; and Orca Aart Gallery, Chicago.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, his works are in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau, Quebec), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum of Anthropology (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Winnipeg Art Gallery* (Manitoba), and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

(1) Inukpuk has a Canadian government issued Inuit Disc Number* – E9906 – which he may have used to sign works, and a signature in syllabics* which was frequently used to sign works.

(2) Some sources don’t name a birthplace for Charlie Inukpuk, probably because his family were nomads when Charlie was born; two say his birthplace is Kotak. However, Kotak is not on Google Maps, so the Inukjuak Airport was contacted and they supplied the current spelling of the place which is Quaqtaq, a village in north-east Quebec on Hudson Strait, about 350 miles north-east of Inukjuak. Sources: The Inuit Art Foundation, Nunavik Art Alive, and the Inukjuak Airport (phone call November 6, 2013).

The Way of Inuit Art: Aesthetics and History in and Beyond the Arctic (2005), by Emily E. Auger (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)

Biographies of Inuit Artists (1993), compiled and published by the Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada (see AskART book references)

Sculpture of the Inuit (1992), by George Swinton (see AskART book references)

Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art (1985), by Bernadette Driscoll (see AskART book references)

Inuit Art Section: Catalogue of Services and Collections (1984), Research and Documentation Centre on Inuit Art (see AskART book references)

Sculpture of the Eskimo (1972), by George Swinton (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network* (includes Artists in Canada, the Inuit Art Foundation, and Nunavik Art Alive)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Written and submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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