Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Charlie Inukpuk


Inukjuak, Quebec, Canada

(1941- )

Charlie is the eldest son of well-known Inukjuak artist Johnny Inukpuk. He began carving in his teens and has developed his own very distinctive style. His wife Elizabee Inukpuk is also a carver and a craft artist known for her traditional dolls.

“We lived in Nauligaqvik, at the time that Inuit lived in houses. There were no white people in Nauligaqvik. We settled here (Inukjuak) in the 1960s or mid-1970s. It was for purposes of education that we moved. Everyone was aware that those who had a child has to go to Inukjuak to stay. The parents moved was because of their children’s education.

“I have never had a real job. I work in construction at this time and as a garbage collector. In the 1950s, I think, that’s when I started to carve. I have never been taught, but I learned by watching back then when we lived in the camps where there were no white people. That’s how I learn, from watching my father and other carvers.

“When we lived in Nauligaqvik, where I first learned to carve, we could get soapstone from the point of Nauligaqvik. I don’t recall exactly what my very first carving was. Back then, we just carved. If the carvings were small, we could make around ten in a week. We carved to sell while we worked. …

“When I first started carving, the main callenge was determining the hardness of the soapstone since the density varies. It was easier to work with the softer stone. I would start off by axe-chipping it, and as I was doing this would start visualizing it. The shape of the stone also provided me with ideas. As I axed it gradually, my thoughts would go: ‘This is shaping like this… It is going to be…’ and the carving being formed would begin following my thoughts from there.”

Artist Contemporaries