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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.

Mother and Child

1967
stone
24.3 x 9.5 x 14.5 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Swinton Collection
G-76-428

  • John Tiktak, Mother and Child

    About

    John Tiktak, Mother and Child

    John Tiktak, Mother and Child

    John Tiktak’s seemingly timeless depictions of mothers and children, single figures, and heads were frequently characterized by rounded solid and openwork forms; he was compared to sculptors such as Henry Moore and granted status as one of Inuit art’s greatest sculptors. Tiktak’s sublimely serene style of the early to mid-1960s was succeeded by a rougher, almost brutal style, similar in some respects to that of his Rankin Inlet colleague, the elder John Kavik. What these later sculptures by Tiktak lack in finesse, they make up for in expressive power.


  • Michael Kusugak Discusses Mother and Child

    Video Story

    Michael Kusugak Discusses Mother and Child

    Michael Kusugak Discusses Mother and Child


  • Heather Igloliorte Discusses Mother and Child

    Video Story

    Heather Igloliorte Discusses Mother and Child

    Heather Igloliorte Discusses Mother and Child


  • NFB, I am But a Little Woman

    Video Story

    NFB, I am But a Little Woman

    NFB, I am But a Little Woman


  • The George Swinton Collection

    About

    The George Swinton Collection

    The George Swinton Collection

    George Swinton moved to Winnipeg in 1954 to serve on the faculty of the School of Art at the University of Manitoba. He had emigrated from Vienna in 1937; studied at the Art Students League in New York; was artist-in-residence at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; and worked as a curator at the National Gallery of Canada and the Saskatoon Art Centre. He had bought his first Inuit carving when in Montreal in 1950, and this early interest soon lead to him assisting the Hudson Bay Company with assessing carvings after they arrived in Winnipeg in crates from the company’s Arctic trading posts. His passion for Inuit art was reinforced by his first trip to the arctic, to Inukjuak, in 1957. He wrote two books that are known to every student and collector of Inuit art: Eskimo Sculpture/Sculpture esquimaude (1965) and Sculpture of the Eskimo (1972).

    In 1960 the Gallery made a serious commitment to collecting Inuit art when it purchased 139 major sculptures from Swinton. In 1976 the WAG purchased a second collection from George Swinton consisting of over 900 sculptures, prints, and drawings. An exhibition of the Swinton Collection was held several years later, in 1987, with an accompanying catalogue. In 1989, a further collection of 85 artworks was donated to the gallery.


  • John Tiktak, Mother and Child

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    John Tiktak, Mother and Child

    John Tiktak, Mother and Child