Irene’s husband, David Tiktaalaaq, is a carver and printmaker. Her brother, William Ukpatiku, is also a carver and printmaker, as well as a crafts artist.
“Avaalaaqiaq’s style is bold and colorful, much like the artist herself. Her subject matter tends always to be shamanic in origin and is based on the Inuit myths, legends, and beliefs of traditional times as told to her by her grandmother. The shamanic belief system practiced in traditional times called for an easy interplay between man and animals. Avaalaaqiaq’s hybrid, flowing figures aptly portray this harmonious relationship—the forms are fluid and flat—half human, half animal; their heads are often in profile or duplicate halves, with staring eyes and gaping mouths. Her unique figures are readily recognizable. Avaalaaqiaq often sews a border around her imagery, perhaps to contain its unworldly content.”
—Marie Bouchard. In “North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary” 1995.
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, INAC, 1997.