Born on September 6, 1951 in Puvirnituq, Aisa Amittu comes from a large family of artists. His father, Davidialuk Alasua Amittu, and his father’s cousin Joe Talirunili are two of the most celebrated artists to come from the North. His brother Johnny Amittuk and his cousin James Amittu are also carvers. Amittu spent many of his formative years in Puvirnituq, but moved to Akulivik in the 1990s. Although Amittu is best known for his stone sculptures, mainly carved from the dark stone found around Akulivik and Puvirnituq, he has also experimented with materials such as ivory and antler. Amittu has also tried his hand at two-dimensional pieces and produced several linocut prints that were included in the annual Puvirnituq print release in 1989. Additionally, he created several unique collage pieces, such as the one featured in Nunavimiut: Art Inuit (published by Avataq Cultural Institute, 1992). Like many artists from Puvirnituq, Amittu often recreates scenes from well known legends and myths. His father, Davidialuk, and his father’s cousin Joe Talirunili were known for their storytelling abilities and Amittu carries on this tradition through his carvings. Not wanting to be confined to a particular theme, Amittu also enjoys experimenting with different subject matter and has portrayed imagery not usually associated with Inuit art. While in Ottawa attending the Inuit Art Foundation’s Nunavik Carvers Symposium (1998), he carved an impressive elephant simply because he “always wanted to carve an elephant” (1999: 52). Amittu’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in Belgium, Germany, France, New York, and Spain. His pieces are included in national public collections such as those at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, to name but a few.
Nunavik Art Alive