Lukie Airut

Born: 1942    Male

Luke was a second generation master Inuit artist, from Igloolik, and began carving in 1967 to support his family as there were not many other employment opportunities in the community. He learned a lot about carving stone and whalebone from his father, George Kappianaq, and Igloolik artist Pacome Kolaut. Lukie used to carve every day except when he was going hunting and fishing to provide food for the family and community. Often he brought back stone and bone from these hunting trips. Luke preferred to work with stone because it allowed him to use his imagination. He believed his work has improved and become more life-like over the years.

Airut’s sculptures were influenced by the land and often featured animals, birds and people in traditional camps. Working primarily in bone, Lukie carved in the round with each angle revealing subtle details. In particular, he was known for his elaborate walrus skull sculptures. His sculptures are very detailed and sophisticated, often multidimensional.

Lukie’s work has been promoted through the Co-operative art marketing system throughout Canada, and is featured in galleries and museums in Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe. His work can be found in the collections of many major institutions, including the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. In 2004 he received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his years of service with the Canadian Rangers.

In addition to carving Lukie attended Nunavut Arctic College, where he specialized in the fine art of jewellery making.

His wife, Marie, was a craft artist and respected seamstress.  Lukie’s youngest brother, Bart Hanna, is also a well-known Igloolik carver.