Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok
Lucy Tasseor Tutsweetok was a celebrated carver from Nunalla, Manitoba, who eventually made Arviat, Nunavut her home and artistic community. Tutsweetok grew up with her grandparents, who greatly influenced her art, however she did not start carving until she moved to Arviat in the 1960s.
Tutsweetok’s sculptures dramatically range in size from the length of a thumb to larger boulders. She worked with basalt and, on occasion, caribou antler—often leaving large portions of the material un-carved and unpolished. Occasionally, Tutsweetok would add incised drawings, such as the igloo on the piece Mother and Children (1960), onto her sculptures. Turning her art production into a family affair, her husband, three children and grandchildren frequently assisted with filing and polishing her works.
Tutsweetok worked in a semi-abstract style and appears to have preferred carving family or maternal groups. The subtle but definitive faces and limbs within her sculptures follow across the edges of the rock, folding human form into the pre-existing contours of the stone. Tutsweetok’s worked helped to popularize sculpture from Arviat while her emphasis of the natural shape of the stone distinguished her work from her contemporaries.
Tutsweetok exhibited nationally and internationally in France, Switzerland and Germany. She has also been written about in the Inuit Art Quarterly and was featured carving near her home in Arviat on the cover of the Winter 2007 issue. Recording the Inuit way of life as she knew it through sculpture was important to Tutsweetok. In particular, Tutsweetok wanted to convey what she referred to as “the old way of life” and the changes she observed happening in her community. Through her work, she hoped to preserve the past for future generations to enjoy, reflect upon and, ultimately, emulate.
(Information provided by Inuit Art Foundation)