Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok was a celebrated carver from Nunalla, MB who made Arviat, NU her home and artistic community. Tustweetok grew up with her grandparents, who greatly influenced her art however she did not start carving until she moved to Arviat in the 1960s .
Tutsweetok’s sculptures range in size from the length of a thumb to larger boulders. She worked with basalt and on occasion caribou antler and would often leave large portions of the material un-carved and unpolished. Occasionally Tutsweetok would decorate her sculptures with incised drawings such as the igloo on the piece Mother and Children (1960). Turning her art production into a family affair her husband, three children and grandchildren often assisted with filing and polishing her works .
Tutsweetok worked in a semi-abstract style and often preferred to carve family or maternal groups. Faces and limbs within Tutsweetok’s sculpture follow the edges of the rock and allow anatomy to contour pre-existing planes. The expressions of Tutsweetok’s figures are subtle but definitive. Tutsweetok’s worked helped to popularize sculpture from Arviat while her emphasis of the natural shape of the stone distinguished her work .
Tutsweetok exhibited nationally and internationally in France, Switzerland and Germany. She has also been written about in the Inuit Art Quarterly and her work was featured on the cover of the Winter 2007 issue. Recording the Inuit way of life as she knew it through sculpture was important to Tutsweetok; in particular, she wanted to convey what she referred to as “the old way of life” and the changes she observed happening in her community . Through her work, she hoped to preserve the past for future generations to enjoy, reflect upon and emulate.
1. “Bio: Tutsweetok, Lucy,” Images Boréales: Galerie d’Art Inuit, accessed October 19, 2016, http://www.imagesboreales.com/fr/artists.aspx?artistid=34.
2. Simeonie Kunnuk, “Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetuk," Inuit Art Quarterly 13, no. 4 (Winter 1998): 21.
3. Norman Zepp, “Subtle Form and Sensitive Line: The Sculpture of Arviat”, Inuit Art Quarterly 30, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 30.
4. Kunnuk, “Lucy”, 22.