MIRIAM NANURLUQ QIYUK (1933-)
a Toronto collection
One of the great Jessie Oonark’s many talented children, Miriam Qiyuk (Nanurluq) is best known as a sculptor but has created many wonderful textile hangings as well. An active and acclaimed carver in the 1970s, Nanurluq took it up again seriously in the early 1990s. During that decade she produced a number of sculptures that depict large groups of people, sometimes placed in boats. Unlike the famous depictions of umiaq journeys carved by the Puvirnituq artist Joe Talirunili however, Nanurluq’s sculptures look more like family gatherings or reunions. In this fine example the boat shape seems to be used more as a visual metaphor rather than representing an actual watercraft; it gathers and holds people together rather than transporting them. As with other versions of this theme by Miriam Qiyuk, the work likely portrays herself and assorted children and grandchildren. Carved from a very hard stone, it is a rough-hewn yet remarkably sensitive composition.
References: for important contemporaneous works by Miriam Qiyuk see Walker’s Nov. 2012, Lot 38; May 2014, Lot 44; Nov. 2014, Lot 58; and Nov. 2016, Lot 76. For older examples by this artist see Walker’s Nov. 2015, Lot 54; and May 2017, Lot 33.
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