Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Joe Adlaka Aculiak


Inukjuak, Quebec, Canada

(1936- )

Joe Adlaka Aculiak was born on November 12, 1936 at Echalook’s camp. A lively and jovial man, Joe currently lives in Inukjuak with his mother Lucy - the widow of artist Josephie Aculiak. Joe has five younger brothers, all of whom he has taught to carve.

“Joe is a prolific carver, most of whose works represent people.” However, a number of exquisite, detailed carvings of birds, bears and especially fish indicate that this artist is equally at home with animals as subject matter. Jean Blodgett describes one of Joe’s walrus carvings as “…not a heroic or momentous subject, but it is a true-to-life representation.” She also notes that “Even on this small scale, the overall shape, the supportive position of the flippers, and the folds of fat at the neck, suggest the weight and bulk of a life-size walrus.” In fact, Joe’s sculptures in general are small in scale and unassuming, but full of character. Even his later works are reminiscent of Inukjuak carvings of the 1950s.

Although Joe usually restricts his decorative surface incisions to certain areas such as repeated rows of small dots along the sides of a fish, or groupings of parallel lines to indicate fins or tail feathers, on occasion he will allow his surface decoration to become elaborate.

Artist Contemporaries