The Artist's Hand, 1991
Canadian (Inuit), 1956
Brazilian soapstone, serpentine, antler, and sinew
47 x 40.7 x 25.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 41481)
Arnaqurk Ashevak created The Artist's Hand when he was invited to attend the Indigenous Artists' Workshop at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts in 1991, the theme for which was "neo-mythology." The experience provided an opportunity for the artist to work with materials not traditionally used in Inuit sculpture, including Brazilian soapstone and clay. The branch, with its spikes and berries, is representative of the kind of sculpture for which Ashevak is well known. Here he sits these elements on top of a mold of his own left hand, creating an unusual and eloquent self-portrait. Using the metaphor of a growing plant, The Artist's Hand materializes the creative act of sculpture so intimately tied to artistic expression in Canada’s Arctic communities.