Inuit-Baker Lake, 1924
Barnabus Arnasungnaaq is among the eldest of the original group of carvers still working in Baker Lake. His work has had a significant influence among tundra artists of the Keewatin area since the early 1960’s, when the Canadian government introduced carving programs in the Baker Lake area as part of an effort to enable formerly nomadic Inuit to earn a livelihood. His wife, Fanny Arngnakik, is a graphic artist and carver, and their sons, David and Norman, are carvers as well.
Barnabus works in the hard black steatite, or soapstone, found in the Baker Lake area. As it is difficult to carve fine detail into soapstone, the sculpture of the region displays a certain solidity and tactile quality that lends it a feeling of timelessness. Barnabus’s work clearly exhibits this sense of enduring presence.