Lucy Tutsweetok

About the Artist

In 1934 Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok was born in Nunaalaaq (Nunalla), Manitoba, a trading post on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay just south of the province’s border with what is now Nunavut. After her father’s death, Lucy went to live with her grandparents. She spent a lot of time with her grandfather travelling between the communities of Nutalla and Churchill as he transported supplies by dog sled or canoe from one trading post to the other.

In 1960 Tasseor married Richard Tutsweetok in Kangiqlliniq (Rankin Inlet) and shortly after the couple moved to Arviat (Eskimo Point), Nunavut. It was around this time that Tasseor Tutsweetok, with no formal training, started carving. Her early carvings were of animals, but her real interests revolved around themes of mother and child, family and community. Since that time these images have become central to her work.  “Her sculptures capture the organic nature of the family by the flowing lines of the stone, and although her  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  is characteristic and easily recognized, the forms which she creates are dynamic and ever-changing,” observes Bernadette Driscoll. (Driscoll, 1982)

Ulibbaq Isumatarjuaq, Tutsweetok’s grandfather, had a great influence upon her life and inspired her to make the kind of art she does. He was great storyteller who, as he spoke, drew pictures in the earth to illustrate his meaning. She comments, “When I first started carving, no one was interested in buying my work. Finally my grandfather advised me. He showed me what to carve by  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  in the sand. He drew a  figure1.  The form of a human, an animal or a thing; most often referring to an entire human form.  2.  A person of note (i.e., an important figure in history...)  with many heads. It was only then that people became interested and started buying my sculptures.” (Brandson, 1994)

Tasseor Tutsweetok’s successful career was established when she was included in the 1970  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (artlex.com)  exhibition organized as part of the Centennial for the Northwest Territories, and a year later when her work was selected for the international touring exhibition, Sculpture/Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic. Tasseor was also included in the 1986 exhibition Pure Vision: The Keewatin Spirit, at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, and in two exhibitions at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, In the Shadow of the Sun (1988) and Indigena (1992).

Tasseor Tutsweetok is a respected artist and leader in her community who has exhibited extensively throughout North America for the past four decades. Her works are in many prominent collections and are included in many books showcasing  InuitInuit means “the people” in Inukititut, the language of the people of northern Canada. Go to http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/info/info114_e.html for further information.  art. She continues to live and work in Aqviat, Nunavut.

To experience the sights and sounds of Arviat, view the following video from YouTube:


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning