Jamasee (Jamesie) Pitseolak


Humour and the contemporary north are themes of interest for Jamasee Pitseolak. He enjoys visual puns and carves outside "mainstream" Inuit art, hence a predilection for ‘choppers’, sunglasses, pipes, and other objects of everyday use in today’s culture both north and south.

Although he started carving at 10, it was not until the 1990s that he began his love of the contemporary. His work is particularly inspired by television, magazines, current events, and childhood.

“When I started carving, I was doing traditional pieces. I felt at that time I wasn’t really connecting with my inner soul, if you will. So I started doing electric guitars, and from there it kind of snowballed.”

He says his fascination for motorcycles comes from a childhood experience: “When my mother moved to Kimmirut, we had family there and one day I was visiting a cousin and he had a battery-operated motorcycle. I really liked it; that was almost 30 years ago. I really liked it so I kept visiting him. Come Christmas, his mother decided that I should have it.”

The son of artists Mark and Ookpik Pitseolak, as a young boy he began carving traditional type works and selling them to the Hudson’s Bay Company. One of his earliest influences was his grandfather, Peter Pitseolak, a well-known carver and photographer from the Dorset area.

Pitseolak’s work is in many private and public collections, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Cape Dorset serpentine ranges in color from light yellow-green to black. Although a hard stone, in skilled hands the serpentine offers the opportunity to achieve flowing forms, lines bold and delicate, as well as glistening, elegant finishes.