Pudlalik Shaa (1965 - )

Pudlalik Shaa Narwhal Gallery: Pudlalik Shaa - Strutting Goose

Detail from Strutting Goose, 2008
Dark green steatite, 23 x 13 x 23 cms (HxWxD), Cape Dorset

Pudlalik's parents, Axangajuk and Kilabuk Shaa, are Cape Dorset artists. Axangajuk is a renowned sculptor. Pudlalik's brothers Qiatsuq and Alariaq are also carvers, as was his brother Qavavau, who died in 1991.

Pudlalik Shaa was born and raised in Cape Dorset. He learned to carve when he was around twelve years old. A self-taught carver, Pudlalik learned most about the art by watching his father Axangayuk Shaa, "and other carvers who used to use an axe [when they carved]." Pudlalik still uses hand tools like an axe or a saw when he carves, but he also uses power tools. Now the father of four children, Pudlalik carves at least every other day. He works primarily with stone and his sculptures average about fourteen inches high.

Pudlalik's favorite subjects to carve are human figures such as drum dancers that are often done as transformation scenes. He also likes to carve whimsical figures such as dancing walrus. Although he finds it hard to decide what to make before he begins to carve, Pudlalik admits, "Sometimes I know what I want to make immediately." Pudlalik remembers forming a carving group with other peers in his community. "In the group, there was: Pitseolak Oshutsiaq who now lives in Iqaluit, Palaya Qiatsuk and Kooyoo Pudlat. We started carving as a group and shared tools." Pudlalik also received a diploma for a carving course he attended at Arctic College in Lake Harbor. Pudlalik traveled south in 1989 to Toronto with fellow Cape Dorset sculptor Ohito Ashoona for an exhibition opening. When asked what he thought of the south form that experience, he summated "It was big and polluted."