Billy Kuk­suk b. 1962 Arviat, NU

Inuit Art Quarterly - - PROFILE -

As com­fort­able with carv­ing tools as he is with the strings of a gui­tar, mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary artist Billy Kuk­suk is known for his sculp­tural work as well as his jazz, rag­time and blues as a mem­ber of The Arviat Band. Born and raised in the ham­let of Arviat, NU, Kuk­suk re­calls that art has al­ways played a ma­jor role in his life and names both his fa­ther, John Kuk­suk as well as his un­cle, Don­ald Ulu­ad­luak (1923–2014), as key in­flu­encers in his cre­ative prac­tice. Lack­ing easy ac­cess to ser­pen­ti­nite, Kuk­suk pri­mar­ily uses gran­ite, a hard stone read­ily avail­able in the com­mu­nity. He cred­its this stone with pro­vid­ing the strength and dura­bil­ity needed to cre­ate many of his seem­ingly im­pos­si­bly struc­tured pieces. “I trust gran­ite more than ser­pen­ti­nite be­cause it’s re­ally dense and hard,” he says of his pre­ferred ma­te­rial. “It’s hard to carve, but it gives a good fin­ish.” At the time of our in­ter­view, Kuk­suk was pre­par­ing a sculp­tural work de­pict­ing a scene from the leg­end of Kiviuq, des­tined for dis­play at the Win­nipeg Art Gallery. A nat­u­ral sto­ry­teller, he de­scribes his long­stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with the leg­endary fig­ure as he ap­pears in his work. “I’ve shown Kiviuq in many dif­fer­ent forms and it all de­pends on which part of the story I carve,” he de­scribes. “I’m at the end of the story now. This is last thing that Kiviuq was go­ing to do.” – Emily Hen­der­son

Billy Kuk­suk (b. 1962 Arviat) Sedna c. 2012 Steatite 34.3 × 22.9 × 5.1 cm COUR­TESY SPIRIT WRESTLER GALLERY ᕕᓕ ᑯᒃᓱᒃ (b. 1962 ᐊᕐᕕᐊᑦ) — ᓴᓐᓇ, ᑕᑲᓐᓈᓗᒃ c. 2012 ᐅᒃᑯᓯᒃᓴᖅ 34.3 × 22.9 × 5.1 ᓯᓐᑕᒦᑕᔅ ᐊᐃᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᔪᖅ ᓯᐱᐅᕆᑦ ᐅᕆᔅᓗ ᒑᓗᓕ

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