Aqjangayuk Shaa (RCA)

Walrus Inuit Art Sculpture in Serpentine

Born: February 1, 1942    Male

Grandson of legendary hunter and artist Kiakshuk, Aqjangayuk was born at Shartoweektok Camp, near Cape Dorset.

Aqjangajuk began carving at the age of seventeen, and after a brief period of experimentation with printmaking (resulting in one print for the Cape Dorset annual collection in 1961), he has focused entirely on carving. His work was included in the touring exhibition “Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic” in the early 1970’s, and he has since exhibited widely.

One of his favourite themes is the dancing animal, where his understanding of balance and the innate elegance of his style are evident. Walruses, owls and caribou are animated and imbued with a strong sense of bulk and motion.

In 2000, one of Aqjangayuk’s dancing walrus sculptures was given to the Australian people to celebrate sixty years of diplomatic relations between the two nations. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 2003, and his works feature in major Inuit (and mainstream) art collections throughout the world, often alongside his sculptor sons, Pudlalik, Qiatsuq, Alariaq and the late Qavavau, all of whom he taught to carve.

Aqjangayuk Shaa pieces can be found in prestigious collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal, the Dennos Museum Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and much more.