Bobby Tarkirk grew up in the area of Ivujivik, eighty miles from Salluit. Descriptions of him never fail to mention his unusual size: Tarkirk was always the tallest Inuk in his community, and his large hands seemed incongruous with the detailed miniatures which he carved. He married Toonoo, a widow from Sugluk, with whom he raised two sons and two daughters. Bobby moved to Salluit in 1958, and soon after started carving.
His early works, attempted after watching others carve, were mostly of the animals which he hunted. Very soon, he settled on his own style and developed a reputation for his miniature sculptures. In a 1971 article, David Raine notes: “Although his sculptures vary in size, his best work is expressed through the miniatures which have gained him fame. These rarely exceed a height of two inches and invariably show some aspect of the traditional culture and the endurance of the men who were part of it. His work, therefore, is important not only for the unique skill of the artist but also because his carvings record a rapidly vanishing way of life.”*
*from “The Miniatures of Bobby Takrik”
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), 1997.
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