Owl and Young, 1991
50 x 27 x 8.6 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from The Winnipeg Foundation
Osuitok Ipeelee began carving at the age of 13. He and his younger brother Sheokjuk Oqutaq, also an artist, learned how to make ivory carvings by watching their father, Oqutaq. Osuitok was one of the earliest carvers to create stone sculptures for export in the early 1950s, and he was instrumental in developing a printmaking program shortly thereafter. Osuitok’s sculpture is known for its delicate detail, and his subjects are often precariously and humorously balanced on a small base. He created realistic animals and female figures, but his range of expression could also be abstract, as in this sculpture of an owl with an owlet peeking out from the protection of the mother. The details are confined to the expressive faces of the two birds.