150 Artists

42/150: Jamasee Pitseolak Bucks Tradition

Aroara 2012 Stone, caribou antler, ivory, dye and metal 31.8 x 55.9 x 19 cm

These works assembled from individually carved pieces of stone are the edgy, non-traditional works of Jamasee Padluq Pitseolak. He was born in 1968 in Nunavut, Cape Dorset on southern Baffin Island, the tiny Nunavut community known since the 1950s as the centre of Inuit art and where generations of renowned artists originated, including Kenojuak Ashevak.

Peter Pitseolak’s Chair, 2009, stone, string & caribou antler, 5 x 3.25 x 3.5 in

The son of artists Ookpik and the late Mark Pitseolak, he began carving when he was 8 or 9. One of his earliest influences was his grandfather, Peter Pitseolak, a well-known carver and photographer.

Feeling a lack of connection with traditional themes, Pitseolak turned to unconventional imagery in the late 1990s.  His techniques also bucked tradition.

While most Inuit artists produce sculptures from single blocks of stone, Jamasee Pitseolak works like a collagist, painstakingly assembling his images from individually carved pieces of stone, ivory antler and horn – Marion Scott Gallery

The majority of his works are marked by a playful charm, a quality reflected also in his sculpture titles, many of which are based on puns. Pitseolak’s prints and drawings are also unconventional.

My Second Grader, 2010, stone, caribou antler & plastic cord, 7.5 x 13.5 x 4.25 in.

Pitseolak’s work is in many private and public collections, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of History and the National Gallery of Canada, where he was selected for Canada’s 2017 Biennial exhibit and has been shown there numerous times.

Jamasee Pitseolak’s artist page, here.

Inuit Art Foundation Artist Database, here.

Below: An interview when Pitseolak was featured in 2013 in Sakàhan: International Indigenous Art, at the National Gallery of Canada.


This is #42 in the series 150 Artists.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s