“Itulu was born in 1929 in Tutjaak, near Cape Dorset. In May 1953, his family travelled by dog team to Kimmirut to allow him to build a large fishing boat. He began working on walrus tusks during this period, one of the first carvers in the community to do so. His first carving was a small Inuk boy carrying an ivory seal. Itulu likes to work on walrus tusk which he lets dry for long periods before carving, otherwise “they are too alive to be used.”
Scraped and filed by hand to a smooth finish, both sides of the tusk are then embellished with images of such arctic animals as wolves, caribou, ducks, geese, seals and walruses, reflecting his life as a trapper and hunter. Itulu also uses his highly accomplished scrimshaw technique on bone, employing the original tools he made in the 1950s. He is also well known for his detailed prints and has been a visiting artist at the Cape Dorset printmaking studios.”
Inuit Art Quarterly, “Kimmirut 1996: The Artists”, Vol. 11, No. 4, Winter 1996, page 23
Davidee Itulu’s wife, Eva, is also an artist involved with sculpture, jewellery and crafts. Their sons Jimmy, Charlie and Kulula are artists, as is their daughter, Elisepee. Itulu began working with a variety of materials in the early 1950s, but still prefers carving ivory.
Excerpt ©1997 Inuit Art Section, INAC
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