Inuit Artist Aliknak

The Inuit artist Aliknak (1928-1998), who went by other names as well, was born and lived in Holman (later renamed Ulukhaktok), Northwest Territories, a small hamlet on the west coast of Canada's extreme north Victoria Island, populated 90% by Inuit. Ulukhaktok is well known for traditional Inuit art and printmaking, and prints from here have a very distinct style. Aliknak was a carver and printmaker, devoting most of his artistic career to the latter. He was a founding member of the Holman printmaking program.

Aliknak is even today in the forefront of Inuit artists and his creative work is represented in many international and Canadian public collections, including the National Museum of the American Indian in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.; the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's University, Kingston.

Aliknak's creative output displays a record of daily traditional Inuit life. His works depict actions and narratives; his people portray emotion and expression and body gestures with a simple dramatic flair. His works recall a traditional life on the land, including fishing, travelling by dogsled, eating, children playing, traditional singing and dancing. His stylized prints float on the page with little or no scenery.

The "Drum Dancer" dressed in traditional Inuit garb, depicts an Inuit man dancing and singing, holding his drum, which twirls on a hinged pole. His "Polar Mother and Cub" depicts a mother polar bear cradling and suckling her cub.

Aliknak's works today are highly collectable. We are very grateful to Prof. Bert Horwood, retired from Queen's University, who spent many summers in Canada's high north, including Victoria Island and Holman, for his very generous donation of these works to the Kingston Grandmother Connection. Our stone cut prints were most likely created by Aliknak in the 1970's.