Posted by: abbyanavilok | November 8, 2011

Inuit and Carving




Inuit in Nunavut have been carving for many years. It all started thousands of years ago when inuit made contact with the north. They started off by making harpoon heads, cooking utensils, needles made of bone and stone lanterns. Archaeologists has studied pieces that have been found around Nunavut, Greenland, Northwest Territories and Alaska. They say that these pieces have been around for thousands of years. These carvings lasted many years and over the years carvings has evolved. Today you can find carvings that are abstract, life-like and even miniatures.

Carving has become Nunavut’s ambassador to the outside world. Carvings from all over Nunavut tell of stories, legends, myths and beliefs. Carvings made by inuit can be shown in abstract form, life-like, miniatures and however the carver visualizes the piece he/she wants to complete. They can use stone, ivory, weathered whale bones, musk-ox horn and caribou antlers.  I’ve always been interested in carving because it has been in my family for many years. I’ve watched my late father Allen Anavilok carve before and he carved beautiful pieces. His brother Bobby Anavilok is a well-known carver from Kugluktuk. He has done many pieces and sold a lot of carvings. He too has beautiful carvings. The image of the Polar Bear and the seal which is named “Patience” is done by Bobby Anavilok. Growing up in Kugluktuk, my dad and Bobby watched their father Sam Anavilok (who is my namesake) carve, they learned all their talent by watching him carve. I’m glad that this talent has been passed down from one generation to another. I justhope it stays within the family for more generations to come. I tried carving before in high-school but never ever got to finish it. It was supposed to be a seal carving, it was turning out but school was over by the time i got to actually finish it. I don’t know what they did with the carving that i was doing but it took a lot of visualizing. I had to look at the piece of soap stone and think of what to do, by doing this i had the help from Simon Komangat and he helped a lot with the carving course we had. He too was a carver, i’m sure he still knows how to carve. I haven’t seen his work before but i heard he carved before. To all the carvers out there, you all are inspiring artists, keep up the beautiful artwork! Well this was my interest since i was a little girl watching my father carve. I hope you enjoyed reading this and feel free to comment or ask questions, i’ll try my best to answer.


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