George Arluk ᐊᓗ (1949-2023)
George was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The fourth child in a family of seven, he is the only one of his siblings to have become a full-time artist. George taught himself sculpture at the age of nine. His early works were heavily influenced by the abstract style of Tiktak, Kavik and John Pangnark, whom he met when he lived in Rankin Inlet from 1956 to 1975.
By the mid-1970s, George had developed his own distinctive style. His abstract sculptures are very different from the typical realistic depictions of Inuit life. His subjects sometimes include ghosts and Arctic animals, but his main motif is the human figure, depicted as a single figure such as a hunter or a mother with a baby in her amautic. Sometimes he groups figures together to create abstract compositions with gently curved forms that allow a comparison with Henry Moore.
George has consistently introduced the breakthrough through the stone as a design principle. New space and new surfaces have emerged, the stone has lost its heaviness and insistence and gained plasticity and expression. Glimpses emerge and the new physicality allows the viewer to see previously unknown dimensions, resulting in an apparent weightlessness of the sculptures.