Eli Elijassiapik was born on April 3, 1936 at a camp on the Nauligavik River approximately forty miles north of Inukjuak. The adopted son of Elijassiapik the Elder, Eli and his father stayed with Johnny Inukpuk’s party during the late fifties. Eli’s wife, Eva, is a crafts artist. They were married in 1963, and moved into Inukjuak in 1965 in order for their four children to attend the local federal school. Eli is the eldest brother of Simeonie Elijassiapik and Harry Elijassiapik, who are also well-known carvers in Inukjuak. In addition to being recognized as a talented carver, Eli is also respected for his administrative talents. For several years he served as President of the Inukjuak Community Council. As an active trustee on the Board of Directors of La Federation des Cooperatives du Nouveau-Quebec, Eli has had frequent opportunities each year to visit Montreal.
In general, Eli’s sculptures possess the roundness and serenity that are typical in the art of his community. Although his carvings of the late nineteen sixties are modest in size, and usually of fish or birds, they nevertheless demonstrate the artist’s remarkable ability to adapt a variety of decorative and stylistic techniques to suit a particular subject matter. Eli also likes to carve in ivory or bone whenever it can be obtained. Many of his larger figurative carvings utilize small inlays of ivory or bone to accent the elliptical-shaped eyes.
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), 1997.
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