Charlie Alikamik Kogvik
Baker Lake, Nunavut Territory, Canada
“I attended the first workshop given by the Inuit Art Foundation. Working with other well-known artists was very interesting, very educational for me. It was like meeting movie stars. I started a lot from them. I was 15 when I started carving. What got me started was school. I was always into art; I really enjoyed it. My mother and father did a lot of sculpting, and my mother also made wall hangings depicting images from stories and legends. I was influenced by them, and my granny also. She was blind, but she did a lot with her hands. I’d ask her: ‘How could you do this? You can’t see.’ But she did it just by feeling. And she said, ‘When you take your time, anything is possible. You don’t have to see to do it.’
“The way I see it, our art is part of a tradition that is still going strong. There are a lot of things you can put into stone. You can put stories into stone, legends that a lot of us will forget. But they will still be there in the stone.
“It hits the spot to know that there are all types of art in the world, but more and more people everywhere are getting interested in Inuit art, and wanting to know more about it and our lifestyle. That makes you feel even stronger. It makes you want to produce more.
Excerpt from an interview with Dave Depper, recorded in Ottawa in February 1995