Past Project

Nunavut Agreement Monument

Inuk Charlie

Inuk CharlieInuk was born in September 1956 at Cape Manson (northeast of Taloyoak).  When Inuk first went to school he did not know English.  When the person registering him asked him what his name was he said “Inuk”.  She asked him again what his name was and he replied “Inuk” she then said, “I know that you are Inuk but what is your name?”  Inuk is both an Inuk and was named Inuk by his parents!  Both of his parents were artists.  His father Charlie Ugyuk was a carver, and his mother Peeteegootee was the original designer of the Spence Bay Packing dolls.  He comes from a family of artists which includes many carvers.

Inuk Started carving when he was 7 years old.  As a child Inuk used to carve toys out of alabaster.  Later on, as an adult he did not want to make a living as an artist when he was raising his children because it took too much time and he could not meet the demand.  It wasn’t until the early 80’s that Inuk started carving for a living.  Once Inuk was having trouble with carving and so he he took it to his father.  His father told him to “take a bit off here and a bit off there” … and told him to imitate his work “…and if you do you will have a future and it will take its course.”  Inuk’s specialty is animals.  “I love to sit and watch animals in their natural setting.  Animals fascinate me, I can sit and watch them for hours.  I especially like to watch birds.”  Inuk’s connection with animals is expressed through his carvings.  He used to make ivory and mixed media miniatures as a pastime.

In 1995, Inuk took a 2 year Arctic College diploma course in Fine arts, in Cambridge Bay (1995-1997) to learn about lapidary and precious metals.  “When I decided to study jewellery I wanted to be able to integrate my work with precious metals and stones and for this I had to go to school.”  Inuk particularly enjoys making earrings dangling and rings made from gold with genstones, etxtured bands or mixing metals with gold.  He uses Nunavut gem stones, lapis lazuli, quartz, from Kimmirut and garnets from Iqaluit.  His major work has been the Nunavut mace located at the Nunavut Legislative Assemble in Iqaluit.  Another accomplishment of this artist is a nine foot Vermont granite sculpture of a polar bear at the Detroit Zoo.  Inuk’s favorite thing about making jewellery is creating shapes and designs with the stones and raw materials found in the north.  Just recently he signed a contract with Tiffanys of New York to design Kitikmeot jewellery.

Inuk has lived in Taloyoak, Pelly Bay, Yellowknife and Cambridge Bay. and has recently returned to Taloyoak with his wife Dorcas with three of their 6 children.  He has attended the Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik 4 times.  As well he has attended the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Festival in Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit.