Johnny Kataluk lives in Coral Harbour (Inuktitut: Salliq/Salliit), on Southampton Island to the northwest of the Hudson Bay, and which is a small, relatively unknown, and certainly less marketed community. In 1902, the original Sallirmiut population died from disease brought by European whalers. Since that time, Coral Harbour has become populated by a blend of many Inuit peoples who have migrated from Baffin Island, Arctic Quebec, and the mainland Keewatin areas. Kataluk reflects this trend as he also moved to Coral Harbour from Arctic Quebec as a child.
Johnny Kataluk has been quietly carving for over forty years — with little recognition outside of his own community. Generally he works in the local gray, often striated, soapstone when it is available, but supplements this with the rusty red limestone from a newly worked nearby quarry.
One could say that the nuance of his minimalist carving style is quite modern — but is very much rooted in tradition. This is evident in his powerful representations of life on the land, the shamans in transformation, and his wonderful portrayals of the Sedna.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery, 2011.
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