inuit carving


Harry the Stonecarver

Harry Brite is an Inuk man who was born in Hopedale, Labrador but raised in St. Anthony on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. During his younger years Harry worked as a fisherman and boat pilot, traveling all around the island working and adventuring. Nowadays he mostly stays in St. John’s, where he is a familiar face in the downtown area: “I’m always around. I’m here and there all the time, you’ll see me.” Many who do see him walking around town don’t realize his talents as a stone carver. Harry only started carving about 12 years ago, taking it up after watching someone else. He uses pyrophyllite stone for his carvings, and basic tools such as a hacksaw and a selection of files. Harry always notes the richness of color in the stone he chooses, as well as the different markings the stone has to offer. As an artist, he is concerned with how he executes form, while keeping his carvings focused on personal interpretations of iconic images and animals of the north. These include whales, whale tails, inukshuks and what he refers to as “hoods.” His hood carvings depict the faces of women, with winter hoods covering their heads.

The images above show Harry posing with some recent carvings from this past summer, as well as how the stone looks at the beginning stages of his work.

Contributed by L. Wilson


Emily Pangnerk Illuitok

Birds Nesting in Cliffs, c.2007


Born in 1943, Illuitok was an Inuit master sculptor from Kugaaruk. She created detailed, delicate ivory/bone carvings that mostly represented hunting or nature scenes. Illuitok often worked with found materials that she then shaped into works of art. She passed away in 2012.

The above work shows birds nesting and is made of whale bone and ivory. Notice the little detail on the bottom right of a polar bear hunting some seals.