After the 1960s Osuitok created many uniquely delicate sculptures of caribou. His earliest prints of caribou portrayed that same fragility with extreme action. His much-sought-after mature works often portrayed ghostlike caribou on long, spindly leg, a courageous feat for any artist to attempt in stone. The delicacy of these long legs would easily invite breakage during careful sculpting.
Osuitok once pointed out that these fragile inua (caribou spirits) are magically able to blow out their sides, raise their heads and become handsomer and heavier when they know humans are observing them.
Osuitok, through the 1950s and later, was "keeper of the carving stone" that he had helped to quarry in the summer. In guiding other artists when selecting stone, he came to understand the way stone fractures and breaks. That knowledge allowed him to carve his caribou spirits so gracefully.
Over the years, Osuitok built an outstanding reputation as a sculptor and probably gained as much honour and financial success as any other artist in Canada. His work is represented in art museums and important private collections throughout the world.
Author JAMES HOUSTON
Links to Other Sites
Osuitok Ipeelee, master of his craft, dies at 82
An obituary for Inuit artist Osuitok Ipeelee. From the website for the Nunatsiaq News.
View images of sculptures created by Cape Dorset artist Osuitok Ipeelee.