'Inuit' is a general term for a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada. The Inuit people live throughout most of the Canadian Arctic and subarctic: in the territory of Nunavut ("our land"); the northern third of Quebec, in an area called Nunavik ("place to live"); the coastal region of Labrador, in an area called Nunatsiavut ("Our Beautiful Land"); in various parts of the Northwest Territories, mainly on the coast of the Arctic Ocean and formerly in the Yukon territory.
Surrounded by a stark landscape, the Inuit people draw inspiration from their intimate relationship with the few indigenous animals of the Canadian Arctic. In a land of snow and rock, Inuit sculptors work with the limited materials available to them; bone, ivory, fur and stone. Despite the limitations of the Arctic, the Inuit have gained international acclaim for their striking imagery which is often amusing, occasionally disquieting and sometimes both.
A frozen northern world where Inuit villages are isolated from one another by hundreds of miles of road-less wilderness or thousand miles of ice encrusted sea, distinct carving styles have developed partially in response to the limited materials available. From the primitive yet powerful basalt carvings of Baker Lake region, to the shiny sophistication of Cape Dorset soapstone sculpture, each shows a strong imagination and profound connection to the animal and spiritual realms.