Jack Nu­viyak


Inuit Art Quarterly - - TRIBUTE -

Jack Nu­viyak is per­haps best known for his con­tri­bu­tions to the Match­box Gallery’s col­lab­o­ra­tive ceram­ics, but his tal­ents and con­tri­bu­tions to Kan­girqliniq Cen­tre for Arts and Learn­ing in Kangiqlini­q (Rankin In­let), NU, and to Inuit art were broad rang­ing. He be­gan work­ing at the gallery in ju­nior high school with John Kurok, with whom he worked closely through­out his ca­reer. Even­tu­ally, he took on a more ac­tive teach­ing role and helped to en­cour­age oth­ers to ex­plore their artis­tic tal­ents. Nu­viyak was an in­te­gral mem­ber of the Match­box Gallery, which pro­moted col­lab­o­ra­tive, mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary work. He was best known for his ce­ramic sculp­tures of po­lar bears, many of which formed the ba­sis of many of the gallery’s most spec­tac­u­lar col­lab­o­ra­tive works, such as En­chanted Bear (2013) by Nu­viyak, Roger Ak­sad­juak, John Kurok and Leo Na­payok. Less well-known are his solo works, which of­ten em­ployed colour­ful glazes atyp­i­cal of the gallery’s more or­ganic style. These pieces show the same sen­si­tiv­ity to hu­man and an­i­mal fig­ures as his bears, but also showcase his in­ter­est in pro­por­tion and pro­fi­cient skill in show­cas­ing a fig­ure’s heft and vol­ume. He was also a tal­ented print­maker, fo­cus­ing on colour­ful sten­cil works that show­cased con­tem­po­rary re­al­i­ties in his com­mu­nity. Trag­i­cally, he passed away in De­cem­ber 2016 at the young age of 45. His artis­tic voice, quiet en­thu­si­asm and unique vi­sion are sorely missed.

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