(Thom Bay, Kitikmeot, Nunavut, 1937 – Taloyoak, Kitikmeot, Nunavut, 1999)
Mère et enfant
[Mother and Child]
Pyroxenite and caribou antler
39.7 x 34.5 x 28.3 cm
Purchased with a special contribution from Hydro-Québec, 2005
Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2005.2481
© Estate of Judas Ullulaq. Photo: MNBAQ, Paul Dionne
With Mère et enfant [Mother and Child], Judas Ullulaq addresses a theme as common in Inuit art as in the history of Western art. The stone and caribou-antler carving depicts a woman carrying a small child in a pouch under the hood of her amauti (parka) and readying to beat a hand drum. The highly expressive style of the two figures is typical of Ullulaq’s work. The distorted facial features – small, bulging eyes, flaring nostrils and gaping mouths revealing wide-spaced teeth – waver between humour and fright.
Born in the Thom Bay area of Nunavut, the Inuit artist Judas Ullulaq settled in Taloyoak in the late 1960s. After initially carving ivory miniatures, he went on to produce larger works and use a variety of materials. Although stone remained his preferred support, Ullulaq employed antler, bone, sinew and musk-ox horn to enhance certain details. He was one of a group of particularly prolific carvers from Netsilik known for their often extravagant and sometimes grotesque creations.