Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)
Keewatin Women In Stone

Keewatin Women In Stone

Camille Iquliq

March 14 - April 4, 2015

Camille was a member of a renowned carving family from Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. Her father is noted master-carver Toona Iquilq (b.1935), who has been a leading carver in Baker Lake since the 1960’s. Her mother, Sarah Anautaq Iquliq (b.1943) is known for her contributions to printmaking. Camille’s two brothers also carved: Louie Arnayuirnaaq (b.1968) who is still carving today, and the late Johnny Iquliq (1966–1996), a gifted young carver who we sadly lost in an accident in Ottawa.

I met Camille twice, once in the south in Winnipeg, and the second time up north in Baker Lake. On both encounters she was shy, but friendly, with a wonderful smile as she proudly showed me her sculptures. It was with great sadness to learn of her untimely death (from cancer) at such an early age, as it was at a time when her career was just beginning to blossom and she was being recognized as a major artist in her own right. Camille’s carving style was very typical to Baker Lake and has a hint of her father’s sculptural form. Her sculptures typically portray Inuit clothed in often exaggerated, curvaceous, rounded parka forms, with very distinctive and recognizable facial features that set her works apart from other artists. The majority of her sculptures are figurative and express the intimacy between family members, often focusing on the relationship between mothers and their children, and represent the strong protective bonds within the family.

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Carving in the local steatite, she would then darken the stone and would polish her pieces to a high sheen. Her sculptures are very tactile and beckon to be touched—and sit comfortably in the home.

This collection includes many personal older miniature sculptures from the private collection of the late Margaret & Henry Ford, as well as some of the last sculptures Camille carved and which were shipped south after her passing.

Since she began carving in 1984, her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout Canada, USA and Europe. Her presence and contribution to Baker Lake sculpture is greatly missed—particularly as Camille came to represent a possible heir apparent that could have led the next generation of Baker Lake artists.

It is an honour for our gallery to host this small tribute exhibition to her—we invite you to come and view the collection.

—Nigel Reading

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