Palaya Qiatsuq (Inuit)
Palaya Qiatsuq (Inuit), who was born in 1965 in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada, carries forward a long and rich heritage and culture in his carving. His grandfather, Kiakshuk, was a well-respected member of the first generation of Cape Dorset graphic and sculpture artists whose work was marketed in the “South”. Lukta Qiatsuq, Palaya’s father, continued the tradition, carving complex spirit, transformation, and hunting scultpures. Several of Palaya’s brothers are also artists.
Qiatsuq’s carvings generally fall into several themes:
· Transformation carvings depict the importance of shamanic culture in traditional Inuit life. Because he has known people who had first hand experience with shamanism, he feels an obligation to pass this knowledge on to younger people, who are more familiar with 21st century western/Christian culture.
· Animal carvings convey the close relationship of Inuit with their environment. Owls, a common bird in Cape Dorset, are also a common theme for the artist. Qiatsuq’s bears, particularly the dancing ones, have a charm, spirit and style that reflect the artist’s personality.
· People in everyday traditional activities, such as hunting or fishing, are another favorite subject. The artist remembers his mother’s fishing skills, and often carves a finely detailed kneeling woman fishing with a spear.
Qiatsuq has demonstrated, lectured, and shown his artwork across Canada, Europe and the United States. He has been employed as a Community Constable for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, at the West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative, and has served as mayor of his Community, Cape Dorset; he works hard to balance time devoted to his outside job, his carving, and his family.