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Tiktak, John

Tiktak, John

Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet)

(1916–1981)

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Tiktak, John

(1916–1981)

John Tiktak was the first Inuit artist to be the subject of a solo exhibition, Tiktak: Sculptor from Rankin Inlet, N.W.T., at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Manitoba in 1970. Born in Kareak, NU, in 1916, Tiktak lived a traditional life on the land until the 1950s when he settled in Arviat, NU, where in 1962 he began to carve on a full-time basis. His artistic style is decidedly minimal due to the hardness of the local stone. He compensated for the density by carving grooves and lines to define facial expressions and by utilizing negative space to articulate limbs. Tiktak’s work mostly depicted scenes of mothers with children, monumental heads, solitary figures and grouped faces. He was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1973. His works are held in several prominent collections including the Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau, QC and the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, ON.

Tiktak, John

Artist biographies provided with permission by the Inuit Art Foundation. All rights reserved.

Human Head

c. 1960–1969
stone
24.5 x 17 x 11.5 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Gift of Dr. Harry Winrob
2006-486

  • Human Head

    About

    Human Head

    Human Head

    In 1970, John Tiktak became the first Inuit artist to be represented in a solo exhibition. Fifty of his sculptures were featured in an exhibition curated by George Swinton at the University of Manitoba’s Gallery 1.1.1. A number of these are now among the 36 sculptures by Tiktak in the WAG Collection. Swinton compared the artist’s sensitive abstractions to those of British sculptor, Henry Moore. Tiktak’s primal forms are almost exclusively concerned with the human form and are characterized by an economy of shape and line. His earliest carvings, beginning in 1963, have elegantly smooth surfaces and curved lines and volumes. Later works, often clusters of heads, were closer to the aesthetic of the other great Rankin Inlet sculptor, John Kavik, with rough, more expressionistic forms.


  • NFB and Geronimo Inutiq, Riders

    Video Story

    NFB and Geronimo Inutiq, Riders

    NFB and Geronimo Inutiq, Riders


    NFB and Geronimo Inutiq, Riders


  • The Harry Winrob Collection

    About

    The Harry Winrob Collection

    The Harry Winrob Collection

    In 2006, a major collection of 246 sculptures was donated to the Gallery by Vancouver collector Dr. Harry Winrob. Originally from Winnipeg, Winrob had made occasional purchases of Inuit carvings beginning in 1968. He became interested in seriously collecting Inuit sculpture in 1971, and soon focused on acquiring works made of organic materials from game animals (whalebone, walrus ivory, and caribou antler). Fifty-four sculptures in Winrob’s collection are created from organic materials, and thirty-six of these are of whale bone. Winrob once gave his background as a physician as the reason for his interest in these materials. However, much of his interest was also aesthetic. He was particularly interested in the flamboyant sculpture by Nattilingmiut (Netsilik) artists from Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, and Kugaaruk. Sculpture with shamanic content fascinated him, particularly animal/human transformations. He explained that it was not the “classic” but the atypical, even the bizarre that held a strong attraction for him. In March 2008, Harry Winrob’s collection was the subject of a major WAG exhibition and catalogue.


  • Human Head

    Additional View

    Human Head

    Human Head