Jamasee Pitseolak

Jamasee Pitseolak is a talented carver, printmaker and illustrator based out of Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU. Pitseolak began carving professionally at the Kinngait Studios during the 1990s [1] and while feeling stagnant and dissatisfied with the expectations surrounding “Inuit Art” and his disconnect from what he was making, Pitseolak began carving electric guitars and miniatures [2]. His works are touching, humorous and at times painful mementos of life in northern communities. 

Characteristic qualities of Pitseolak’s sculpture include the use of stylistic realism and puns to portray absurd subjects, the predominant use of serpentine and the depiction of objects rather than figures. Though he began by carving his sculptures out of a single piece of stone Pitseolak felt that these lacked necessary vibrancy and animation. He began to create composite sculptures, assembling his works from numerous smaller carved components [3]. Pitseolak’s preoccupation with the aesthetics of manufacture motivated him to use different colours, textures and materials to highlight the individual elements creating contrast within the sculpture as a whole. The care and time that Pitseolak invests in the production of each sculpture parallels the expedient objects that his carvings represent. His carvings are a physical manifestation of the memories and emotions that can become inseparable from everyday items, growing beyond utilitarian functions to become objects with history and agency. Pitseolak’s iconic motorcycle sculptures exemplify his creative process. Although motorcycles are uncommon in northern communities his “choppers” incorporate motifs of Inuit oral traditions and experiences [4].

Pitseolak’s first solo exhibition Jamasie Pitseolak: Sculptures, Drawings, Prints took place at the Marion Scott Gallery, Vancouver, BC in 2011. The exhibition featured thematically positive and dark works retrospective of Pitseolak’s life. Pitseolak has exhibited his work across Canada and internationally and was part of the 2017 Canadian Biennial [5]. His works are held in the Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC, the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON.


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Accomplishments

2008: BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition Nunavut Regional Winner for his lino cut print What’s the Catch (2008).


Citations/Footnotes

1. Robert Kardosh, “The Object Truth: Jamasee Pitseolak's World of Stone,” Inuit Art Quarterly 30, no. 1(Spring 2017): 36. 
2. Norman Vorano, “The Object Truth: Jamasee Pitseolak's World of Stone,” Inuit Art Quarterly 23, no. 1(Spring 2008): 10. 
3.Ibid: 13. 
4. Kardosh, “The Object Truth,” 38. 
5. “2017 Canadian Biennial,” National Gallery of Canada, accessed February 09, 2018. https://www.gallery.ca/whats-on/exhibitions-and-galleries/canadian-biennial-2017.