“I try to do different art. I used to make mostly the same kind of carvings, but now I try to create new things. I can work with anything. I can work with stone. I can work with ivory and bone. But I prefer soapstone because it’s soft. It’s more ‘creatable’.
I started carving when I was nine or ten years old. I saw people doing it and learn on my own. But I ended up using my Grandparents’ tools. We aren’t having a problem getting tools, but we need a good place to work. People here have been working in little shacks. We have received funding to turn an empty building into a studio and we hope it will open soon. We bought the building from the government for a dollar. It has a ventilation system. That’s very important. The artists will use their own tools.
The Inuit Art Foundation gives us strength. The way I see it, the foundation has already helped me and I’m going to pass that on to other artists. I think that’s the role I have play right now.
In the past, I thought I wasn’t a real artist, but through the foundation, I’ve found that I was an artist. They published my art. Now I’m a well-known carver.
Some people say the art is dying. Is Inuit art dying? I don’t think so. I think it’s going to stay forever. The only way it will die is if we run out of rock.”
The above is an excerpt from an interview With Dave Depper, recorded in Ottawa in February 1995.
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), 1997.
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