(1933 – Present)
Kiawak ( Kiugak ) one of Cape Dorset’s finest figurative carvers, and his work is often celebrated for his distinctive aesthetic and his dramatic, powerful imagery. The son of renowned graphic artist Pitseolak Ashoona (RCA), Kiawak was born into an artistic family in 1933. Many of Kiawak’s siblings are successful artists in their own right. Prior to the establishment of an arts and crafts program in Cape Dorset, Kiawak began carving in 1947, and his work reveals his fascination with traditional Inuit legends that speak of supernatural transformations and the fluidity of human and animal spirits. Part of the generation of Inuit carvers that first drew global acclaim for their imaginative and visually striking sculptures, Kiawak’s work has since been featured in over 75 exhibitions both domestically and internationally. His carvings often display elegantly curving lines, stylized human and animal forms, and a harmonic use of negative space that serves to emphasize the relationships between figures and objects within his work.
In recognition of his contributions to Inuit art and culture, Kiawak was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2000 and elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 2003. He has placed work in a number of significant public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Kiakwa was also awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for his active participation in attracting global attention to the work of Inuit artists.