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Mattiusi Iyaituk

My Mother Talks about Caribou


Mattiusi Iyaituk
Born in Iyaituk camp, near Akulivik (Cape Smith), Nunavik, in 1950


My Mother Talks about Caribou




Serpentine, caribou antler


55.5 x 53 x 41 cm


Purchase, the Canada Council for the Arts' Acquisition Assistance Program and the Serge Desroches Bequest, inv. 2006.78.1-3


Quebec and Canadian Art

Mattiusi Iyaituk, an artist from Nunavik, has been making sculptures since the age of fourteen. This work depicts his blind mother, Lucy, as she describes the savoury taste of caribou meat, then scarce, to her son. Iyaituk was raised traditionally, living in an igloo and tent in Cape Smith until famine forced his family to give up that way of life and settle in Akulivik. Caribou meat – along with that of seal and narwhal – has been the staple of Inuit subsistence for thousands of years. According to the artist, the antlers used for the arms can be seen as a reference to Lucy’s eloquent and powerful gestures. The sculpture also illustrates body transformation and the practice of Inuit shamanism: as the woman gesticulates to describe the caribou, her outstretched arms transmute into the animal.

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