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 Andy Miki  (1918 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: Nunavut / Canada      Known for: Inuit sculpture, carving, whimsical figure, birds, mammals

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Disc Number E1436 is primarily known as Andy Miki

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Standing Seal ca. 1970
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Andy Miki (1918 – 1983) (1)

A prominent Inuit* (Eskimo) sculptor and carver, Andy (Andrew) Miki was born in the Kazan River area of Keewatin, Canada and died in Arviat, Keewatin. His life and work are discussed in many books on Inuit art. His carvings have been included in a number of important exhibitions, and his works are in several public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada. (2)(3)

His primary medium was stone, although he has also used wood, ivory, antler, bone and sinew, occasionally in mixed medium compositions. Miki’s most well-known subjects are whimsical figures of individual birds and land mammals, which are usually small (hand-size) and seldom identifiable by species. These ‘enigmatic animal forms’ are frequently executed in a two dimensional cookie cutter semi abstract fashion. His styles could be described as Inuit Art*, Modernism* and Minimalism*. AskART images have some excellent illustrations of his oeuvre.

Excerpt: ‘The stone of Aqviat [Arviat] is hard and with small-scale tools is difficult to work with. Consequently, even today, Aqviat carvers tend to create works that conform to a stone's form and avoid elaborate designs. Miki's work tends to have the rough marks of his tools left on them. They, therefore, have a "matte, tactile look of a fine file or sandpaper finish."’ (4)(5)

As with most Inuit carvers of his era, Miki would be considered self taught; he was a nomadic hunter until the late 1950s when he turned to carving to earn the cash needed to survive in a non-nomadic society. For more information about how and why modern Inuit Art developed see the AskART glossary entry for Inuit Art.

Excerpt: ‘Through the 1920s caribou herds diminished as did the price of animal furs. This was accompanied, in the 1940s and 1950s, by famine and disease that ravaged Keewatin area residents. Miki moved [from Ennadai Lake] to Eskimo Point [Arviat] in 1959, and on to Rankin Inlet, then to Whale Cove, and moved back to Eskimo Point [Arviat] in 1969.’ (6)

Miki’s works have been included in numerous important group exhibitions such as “Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic”*, British Museum, London, et al. [see the glossary entry for this landmark exhibition] (1971); “The Mulders’ Collection of Eskimo Sculpture”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1976); “The Zazelenchuk Collection of Eskimo Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1978); “Eskimo Point/Arviat”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1982); “Uumajut: Animal Imagery in Inuit Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (1985); “Pure Vision: The Keewatin Spirit”, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan (1986); “The Williamson Collection of Inuit Sculpture”, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina (1987); “The Stone Sculpture of Arviat”, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario (1990); “The First Passionate Collector: The Ian Lindsay Collection of Inuit Art”, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba and touring (1990); “Inuit Installation”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1991); and “Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum”, Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona and touring the USA (2006 – 2011).

Recently, Miki’s works were included in “Inuit Modern: The Samuel and Esther Sarick Collection”, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011); “Arctic Beauty: Inuit Art from Canada”, at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama (2012); and in “Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art”, at the Winnipeg Art Gallery*, Manitoba (2013).

His works have also been included in solo and group exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries, such as the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, B.C.; Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver; Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver; Mayberry Fine Art, Winnipeg; The Inuit Gallery of Eskimo Art, Toronto; Galerie Elca London, Montreal; Maison Hamel-Bruneau, Quebec City; and Gallery 100 Hudson, New York City.

Miki’s carvings are in several important private collections (for examples of these see exhibitions above and AskART books) and museum collections. According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, his works are in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau, Quebec), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Winnipeg Art Gallery* (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
(1) Please note: Andy Miki’s Canadian government issued Inuit Disc Number* is E1436, it was occasionally used to sign his works. He also has a signature in syllabics* which was frequently used to sign works. Sources: Canadian Museum of Civilization and AskART Images.

(2 ) Please note: The artist Mary Kahootsuak Miki (see AskART) was Andy Miki’s wife. Source: Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum (2006), by Ingo Hessel (see AskART book references).

(3) Please note: In 1999 Keewatin became a part the Nunavut territory of Canada; consequently, places discussed in this biography would now be in “Nunavut” not “Keewatin”. MDS

(4) Excerpt source: Katilvik.Com.

(5) Please note: Some other prominent artists from the same region as Miki are George Arluk, John Kavik, John Pangnark and John Tiktak, they all have AskART records. MDS

(6) Excerpt source: Katilvik .Com.
Creation & Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art (2012), edited by Darlene Coward Wight (see AskART book references)

Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum (2006), by Ingo Hessel (see AskART book references)

Inuit Art: A History (2000), by Richard C. Crandall (see AskART book references)

Celebrating Inuit Art: 1948 – 1970 (1999), edited by Maria Von Finckenstein (see AskART book references)

Inuit Art: An Introduction (1998), by Ingo Hessel and Dieter Hessel (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)

Inuit Art: An Anthology (1988), by Alma Houston, et al (see AskART book references)

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

Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic (1971), by William E. Taylor Jr., George Swinton and James Houston (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

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

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

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