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Louie Nigiyok

Artist Story

It all started about 30 years ago when I was just filling in for printmakers to help them meet their deadlines. I mainly learned by watching. My mother Mabel was one of my mentors, as well as my aunt and uncle – they were all artists who made prints for the annual Holman Print Collection. There are a lot of artists in my family.

It took a few years for me to know that I wanted to be an artist. As I learned, I practiced a lot and I became better at it.  The reason I got into it was because I like how making prints helps preserve the traditional way of Inuit life and culture. Our culture stays alive through our artwork.

I make stencil prints, woodblock, stonecut, lithograph and some carvings as well. I love the stone cut method of making prints, but it is a lot of work to flatten and smooth a slab of limestone, and then transfer the image and texture onto the stone before it is inked up and printed. If you want to add colours, you have to cut a different stone for every colour. Stencilling makes it easier for me to add colour, so I mostly make stencil prints.

Some of my artwork tells stories. A lot of my work depicts animals, people, birds.  I think my favourite must be the polar bear. I love printing polar bears, because I have seen so many of them in my lifetime. The first bear that I ever caught was back in 1976, when I was 16 years old and it was my first time out polar bear hunting with my dad. I have hunted animals for a long time and I know them well.

It may be a long time before Ulukhaktok produces a collection again, but I will continue to make prints until then.  Maybe I will make my own collection until that time comes. I have sold a lot of artwork over the years, nowadays, mostly to individuals through orders, some to the print shop, but mostly they go out of town to people’s houses all over.

Artist Bio: 
Last Updated: October 6, 2015
Region: 
Inuvik Beaufort Delta
Community: 
Ulukhaktok
Address: 
P.O. Box 58
Ulukhaktok, NT X0E 0S0
Phone: 
(867) 396-3354

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