Oopik Pitseolak was born in Lake Harbour and moved to Cape Dorset in 1960 where her father, Tommy Manning worked for the Hudson Bay Company. Oopik began carving soon after settling in Cape Dorset. As a young girl she began working with her father-in-law, Peter Pitseolak, helping him polish the finished carvings. Her grandmother, Simatuq, taught her how to do beadwork. Oopik often combines these two talents by adding beadwork to her sculpture.
In 1994 Oopik enrolled in art courses at Nunavut Arctic College to further her artistic skills. She learned about printmaking, watercolour painting and clay sculpture but decided to specialize in jewelery and metalwork. Her imagery is drawn from Inuit traditions and the Arctic environment.(1)
“When I first started to carve, I carved for money but now I come up with personal expression from my life and feelings… you have to commit yourself to higher levels. What you give out is the most important thing. If it comes from your heart, that is the issue.”(2)
(1) Information Courtesy of Nunavut Arctic College 1996. (2) (Artist’s statement) Marybelle Mitchell, “Inuit Art is Inuit Art”, Inuit Art Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 1997, page 7
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), 1997.
Husband: Mark Pitseolak Sr.
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