Robert Kuptana has been carving since childhood, learning by borrowing tools from his older brother Floyd, also a carver. He was born in 1962 in Paulatuk in the Western Arctic, and is currently living in Ulukhaktok (Holman). He is a cousin of well-known artists, David Ruben Piqtoukun and Abraham Anghik.
Robert began carving professionally in 1998, and quickly developed a personal and very distinctive style. He crafts detailed miniatures of human and animal figures in ivory and bone and a sublime sense of humour emanates from his carvings. While mythological themes are favourites for him, he has recently begun to explore socio-historical issues affecting Inuit, a theme often avoided in Inuit art.
Clare Porteous-Safford of the Inuit Art Foundation says: “Robert has his own, truly distinctive style, and his work is consistently unique. He is an artist who puts a lot of thought into what he does, both technically and conceptually—and he has excellent and very original ideas.”
The Inuit Art Quarterly magazine presented an in-depth look at Robert’s work and featured him on the cover in Summer 2001. His work has appealed to many collectors, both new to the art and long-term supporters. Robert also has work in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
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