Lucassie Echalook was born on August 9, 1942 at a small hunting camp situated not far from Inukjuak on the shores of Hudson Bay. Lucassie did not attend school; instead, he spent his childhood being taught hunting skills by his father. He remembers the hardships which his family endured following his father’s death in 1950; much of this time he spent hungry and improperly clothed. Eventually Lucassie married Martha Aculiak, and they now have five children.
Lucassie is regarded by his peers as “a prolific carver, who during the spring is known to continue carving when he and his wife leave the settlement.”* Over the years he has exhibited a preference for carving solid masses that possess little interplay between open and closed spaces; his renderings of figures, animals and hunting implements often occupy a compact space as if part of a single formal unit. An unusual feature of Lucassie’s sculpture is the alignment of anatomical details such as hands or faces along the foreground edge of the block of stone. As a consequence, many of his faces and torsos are distorted into angular planes that converge abruptly. The effect is not only expressive, but adds implied movement to the central mass of the combined figures. His faces can be distinguished by their prominent almond-shaped eyes, broad noses and wide mouths.
Lucassie tends to carve hunting or camp scenes, and on occasion carves spirit figures, and shamanic transformations. With the exception of the rough mottled bases, his work is highly polished. Lucassie also produced stoneblock prints for the 1975 Arctic Quebec Print catalogue and the 1976 Inukjuak print collection.
*Barry Roberts, “The Inuit Artists of Inoucdjouac, P.Q.”, 1978
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, INAC, 1997.