At first glance, Inuit art may seem to be a relatively homogeneous art form but, in fact, its subject matter and styles are richly varied. The Canadian Inuit population (about 32,000) is widely distributed across Canada's north, so that each of the 30 or so art-producing communities has developed its own favourite subjects and distinctive artistic style.
The themes of Arctic wildlife, and traditional Inuit hunting and family scenes are still popular but spirit figures, and mythological and shamanic images also abound. Styles, too, range from naturalism or decorative stylization to minimal abstraction, and from brutal expressionism to whimsical surrealism. The personal styles of individual artists are readily identifiable by those who take time to look more closely. Now that the third generation of Inuit artists are well established and a fourth generation is emerging, some are seeking a more contemporary look to Inuit art.
Although the Narwhal Inuit Art Gallery specialises in Canadian Inuit Art, examples of circumpolar art stretching from the Chukchi and Magadan areas of eastern Siberia (where just a handful of Inuit still live), through Alaska to Greenland are also represented.
The information and images contained in the artist/biography section is a synopsis of past and present data taken from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), together with further data and images supplied by the Narwhal Inuit Art Gallery and NIAEF, London UK.