Levi took his surname from the place in which he was born, Cape Smith, a now abandoned camp about one hundred miles north of Puvirnituq. In 1955, a tuberculosis survey sent most of the population from Cape Smith to hospitals in the south. Levi was sent to a hospital for treatment for about a year, and settled in Puvirnituq upon his return.* After living in Puvirnituq for many years, Levi moved back to Cape Smith, where he died in 1986.
Unlike other carvers in Puvirnituq, Levi was always more interested in art than in hunting. A prolific carver, his distinctive style evolved, beginning with large, roughly finished sculpture, and progressed to a realistic, highly polished style. Eventually, his work tended toward the abstract, and Levi became well-known for his fanastic “mythological” sculpture.
Levi’s wife, Bertha Ajappatu Pirti, is also a carver.
*Biographical information from FCNQ, 1973
Excerpt ©1997 Inuit Art Section, INAC
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