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Oqutaq, Sheokjuk
Hawk Hawk
1971 1971

One of the first artists James Houston met on his travels across South Baffin Island in 1951 was Sheokjuk Oqutak (1920-1982), the older brother of a renowned ivory carver, Osuitok Ipeelee. One of Sheokjuk’s first stone carvings sold to the Hudson Bay Company in 1952 was a top-down view of the interior of an igloo, with a removable top, showing two families sleeping. It was a work of such outstanding imagination and execution that it was included in the 1953 Gimpel Fils exhibition of Inuit art in London – the first exhibition of contemporary Inuit art outside Canada. Much like his younger brother, Sheokjuk became a very proficient ivory carver through the mid 1950s, known for his miniature, highly detailed, and expressive carvings that often combined ivory and stone. This sculpture of a hawk, purchased in 1971 from the Snow Goose in Ottawa, is an unorthodox work for Sheokjuk. The introduction of marble into Cape Dorset in the early 1970s was an effort to foster artistic experimentation, and resulted in a flurry of new works by artists such as Sheokjuk that attracted notice in the Inuit art world. Here, the artist wrestles with the sheer hardness of marble to create an atypically minimal, modular bird. It is also larger than most of his other work, and lacks the minutia – feathers, claw wrinkles, eyelids – that his work became known for.

 
Oqutaq, Sheokjuk
Sharloweetok camp NWT (NU) 1920-Cape Dorset (Kinngait) NWT (NU) 1982 Sharloweetok camp NWT (NU) 1920-Cape Dorset (Kinngait) NWT (NU) 1982
Hawk Hawk
1971 1971
Stone Stone
31.8 x 25.4 x 16.5 cm
Gift of Paul Christianson, 2018 Gift of Paul Christianson, 2018
61-016.02

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