Aliva Tulugak was born on August 4, 1954 in Puvirnituq where he lives with his wife and four children. Fluent in both Inuktitut and English, this young carver became familiar with the southern lifestyle while working for La Federation des Cooperatives du Nouveau-Quebec in Montreal for approximately two years. During this period in the south he travelled to Quebec City to assist the curator of le musee de la Civilization with the identification of Inuit works in that collection.
Tired of the mediocrity of various office jobs, and succumbing to the stress of working in an office, Aliva returned to Puvirnituq in 1976. In 1978 he began to teach himself how to carve. He is one of the generation of Inuit carvers who are acquainted with both the northern and southern lifestyles. He feels that “…young people should learn to carve even if it’s just for activity, to keep them out of trouble. Because what they learn with their hands they can put it to maybe sleigh making or harpoon making or any activity that’s useful when you’re away from the village.”
His choice of subject matter reveals that Aliva is an independent thinker who champions the older carvers such as Joe Talirunili, and Davidialuk. In an attempt to revive these traditions, Aliva depicts legends which relate to the Katyutayuuq or Sedna myths. The artist endows these supernatural images with a heightened reality by carving the scales into the body of the sednas, rather than incising them onto the polished surface of the stone.
Excerpt courtesy Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), 1997.
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