Abraham Anghik Ruben, OC
(1951 – Present)
Born in 1951 in a camp located just outside of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories, Abraham Anghik Ruben has since emerged as a leading figure in contemporary Inuit art. Celebrated for his powerful and exquisite forms and his natural storytelling ability, Abraham’s work speaks to his cultural heritage, myths, and legends from a time long passed. Born during a period of profound change in the north, Abraham has spent much of his adult life in an attempt to re-discover his Inuit culture, all the while contemplating its relationship and relevance to his experiences in the modern world. In recent years, Abraham’s interest in reviving lost cultures has extended to an exploration of Nordic and Viking history and legends, which he often relates to traditional Inuit mythology.
In 1971, Abraham attended the University of Alaska’s Native Arts Centre where he studied under Inupiaq artist Ronald Senungetuk. It was during this period that Abraham began to pursue a professional career as an artist, working in a range of mediums including sculpture, jewelry, prints and drawings. Abraham was first noticed by Toronto-based art dealer Jack Pollock, who invited Abraham for his first solo exhibition in 1977. In 1986, Abraham and his family relocated to Salt Springs Island in British Columbia, where he continues to reside. Over the years, Abraham’s work has been regularly shown in galleries and museums across North America, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Royal Ontario Museum.