Soapstone Carvings by Henry Napartuk (1932-1985)

May 10, 2010 - Here's what you've been waiting for!

I am very proud to present to you two (2) Inuit sculptures from my personal collection. These beauties were carved by well-known artist Henry Napartuk (1932-1985) at the end of the '60s. Napartuk was known as an imaginative and versatile artist but most of all, a personal and good friend of mine. I became acquainted with Henry in 1967 when I was Officer in Charge of Transport Canada Communication Facilities, in Kuujjuaraapik. His brother, Paulosie Napartuk was my permanent Inuit employee. However, when he had to be absent from work, he would be replaced by Henry. We then became very good friends and I began to appreciate his immense talent. Henry is the son of Josie Napartuk, also a well-known sculptor.

In my sculptures, you will notice a combination of animal and human forms. Henry Napartuk put his heart and soul into his work. His style of life, thoughts and Inuit traditions are reflected in these sculptures. They are the living portrait of Napartuk. According to experts, my collection is unique. There are no sculptures out there alike.

The majority of my sculptures are carved from a type of green and black soapstone. At the request of Henry Napartuk, I purchased soapstones from a quarry in Sanikiluaj. Such pieces need to be handled with extreme care. It is easy to carve but it is also easy to scratch and break. Henry preferred this type of stone as opposed to other types used in different communities.

In July 1970, Queen Elizabeth II made an official visit to Canada and the Northwest Territories. The organizing committee requested that my collection be on display in the Queen's private quarters wherever she stayed. I graciously accepted this offer. Other than that short period of time, my carvings always have been in my possession. Transportation issues and the threat of breakage while in transit were highly considered and cared for.

This carving measures 17" high, has a circumference of 26", and weighs 44.5 lbs.

This second carving measures 14½" high, 20" in circumference, and weighs 28.5 lbs.

Both items are in superb condition and have the artist's signature under each.

For any comments or questions, please send me an e-mail.

If you have any interest in either or both items, please let me know. Make me an offer that I can't refuse! The best offer will be accepted. Shipping & handling is to be determined.

Thank you for looking!

Léo Poirier
Gatineau, Québec, Canada