Artists & Communities / Communities
Inuktitut meaning: Bowhead Whale
Located on the western shores of the Hudson Bay, in the Kivalliq region, Arviat is one of the fastest growing communities in Nunavut, Canada. It is made up mostly of Inuit from the inland Ihalmiut and Paallirmiut bands, which were evacuated to the west coast of Hudson Bay in the late 1950s.
Carving production commenced in the early 1960s and artists soon earned a reputation for their distinctive, rugged style. Arviat stone sculpture, while dealing almost exclusively with family and maternal themes, possesses perhaps the least ‘naturalistic’ style in all of Inuit art. The tough, dark grey Arviat stone, called steatite, resists detailed work. Even when softer stone is used, many artists take advantage of the opportunity to simplify forms rather than to elaborate it. Antler carvings, on the other hand, are quite playful and often explore a greater variety of themes.
The Ulimaut Carving Shop in Arviat provides a workspace for new carvers. Here, you can watch young carvers at work and meet other members of the local carving community.
Arviat carvers include George Arlook (now residing in Winnipeg) and Lyta Josephie.