Mary Oshutsiaq

Mary has lived in Cape Dorset all her life, and she was a mother of two at the time of the interview. Although she has no formal training in arts or crafts she identified her mother, Omalluq Oshutsiaq, as her mentor and said that she learned a lot about carving through watching her mother. When asked whose word she admires most, Mary named her mother first, and Toonoo Sharky, an acclaimed sculptor who is one of her contemporaries. Mary’s brothers, Pitseolak Oshutsiaq also carved as did the late Ipeelee Oshutsiaq. Mary’s late uncle, Pudlo Pudlat, and her late grandfather, Oshutsiaq Pudlat were both well-known Cape Dorset artists.

Mary began carving at the age of thirteen. She sold her first carving that same year and recalled it was a bird. Since that time, she feels that her carving technique and style have changed and improved; she carves every other day now, and no longer caves animals. She prefers to carve in stone, and concentrates on human figure, her favorite being the mother and child theme. “I enjoy carving, but sometimes I think it’s the hardest work. It can be tiring, but I have to make a living, and there are no other jobs. I tell everyone to try to carve and child so they’ll know how hard they are to make.”


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