Attributed to: JOHN ATTOK (1906-1980)
a Hamilton private collection
Mother and Child is a naively conceived but imposing and quite compelling sculpture, unusually large for this period in Arviat art. The figure of the mother is powerfully built yet gaunt; she has pulled her amautiq down in order to nurse her toddler. The work has a haunting quality that makes us wonder whether it depicts the figures in a time of famine. One touching aspect of the work is the simple but lovely way in which the artist has shown the mother’s braids at the back.
Not much is known about John Attok but he is considered to be one of the major talents from these early years. He was never prolific however and may not have carved much in stone after about 1970.
References: for important works by Attok see Darlene Wight, The Swinton Collection of Inuit Art (Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1987) cat. 77; Bernadette Driscoll, Eskimo Point/Arviat (WAG, 1982) cats. 22-23; George Swinton,
Sculpture of the Inuit (McClelland & Stewart, 1972/92), figs. 65, 80; and Sculpture/Inuit (CEAC/U of T, 1971) figs. 103, 288.
First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction www.firstarts.ca