Isacie Petalausie

(1973 – ) | Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada 

As a child, Isacie would watch his maternal grandfather Latchaulassie Akesuk carve and he would observe the techniques of his well known master carver relation.  Latchaulassie carved birds in a distinctive style with wings on the side open downward.  At about age 16, he would help his grandfather filing and sanding carvings.  Latchaulassie showed him how to use the axe and hacksaw, the tools for carving in the early days.  One time Latchaulassie drew him a picture of a bird and asked him to carve it when he was about 23 years old and Isacie did make the carving like the drawing. 

Isacie comes from a family of talented artists.  His paternal grandparents were both artists, Aggeak was a carver and Timangiak created drawing, prints and sculpture.  Isacie’s uncle Papinak Petaulassie is a carver as well in Cape Dorset as is his sister Maata Petaulassie and his sons Samonie Shaa and Oqittuq Shaa.  Aqjangajuk Shaa is his father-in-law. 

 Isacie, as a young boy, followed his grandfather to Kangisukuttaaq, the stone quarry site still in use today, to mine stone for carving.  There they became weathered in for an additional week and had no food, Isacie and his grandfather returned to Cape Dorset by boat in extremely rough seas.  This left a lasting memory for Isacie.

Isacie’s favorite animal is the polar bear, he was in his early 20s when he started to carve full time.

Isacie says he admires all carvers, saying they all have different talents.  He has been happy to share his talent with his two sons, Samonie and Oquittuq.  He shows them how to carve by letting them watch, offering them his advice and instructing them while they practice.  Isacie said that his sons had initiated the instruction because they wanted to learn how to carve. 

Isacie is an emerging artist with over twenty years experience carving stone.  He carves primarily in serpentine stone and will also carve in white marble.  His work is focused mainly on bears – dancing, diving and walking.  Isacie’s bears are entertaining with precise facial features and robust bodies.  He possesses the skill to balance the bear in up to 4 different positions.  This technical ability to balance the stone on a variety of paws allows him and his admirers the freedom of movement with his carvings.  These delightful bears are often dancing and diving.  A dancing bear may be able to stand on either hind leg allowing the observer to make the carving dance.  The well executed diving and dancing bears can either dance on a hind leg or dive in with their front paw.  Isacie supports his family through his artwork. 

Isacie’s favorite part about carving is being able to envision the carving before it gets started and also finds it exciting when the art piece is about to be finished.  Aside from keeping busy with carving, Isacie enjoys spending time with his family and friends.  He hopes to travel one day, saying he would enjoy the opportunity to do a carving demonstration in a gallery that sells or holds his work.