The son of sculptor Qiatsuk Qiatsuk and grandson of master carver Lukta Qiatsuk, Johnnysa Mathewsie comes from a family of acclaimed artists. Born in Kinngait in 1984, Johnnysa learned to carve the traditional Inuit way at the age of twelve, by observing both his father and grandfather work. Along with his immediate family, Johnnysa’s uncle Padlaya Qiatsuq is a skilled carver while his great grandfather was the renowned graphic artist Kiakshuk, who was one of the first print artists in Kinngait. Throughout the course of his career as a carver, Johnnysa has continued to expand his forms and techniques, and is skilled at carving both figurative works as well as animals.
One of Johnnysa’s most recongiznable subjects is that of the Canada goose, which he often carves in commanding positions with intricately detailed wings rising up overhead. Glass beads are also often featured as the eyes for some of his carvings, adding to the uniqueness of his works.