Karoo Ashevak

Karoo Ashevak, artist (b near Spence Bay, NWT 1940; d there 19 Oct 1974). Gaining recognition only late in his short artistic career, Karoo is now acknowledged as an important figure in contemporary Canadian Inuit art. He grew up living the traditional life on the land and began carving in the late 1960s after moving into Spence Bay. About 5 years later, he and his wife perished in a fire at their home.

Karoo brought to his work a lively imagination, a knowledge of traditional culture, a love of gadgets and tremendous skill as a carver. Working primarily in whalebone with stone, baleen and ivory highlights, he gave to his subjects - people, shamans, animals and birds - a sense of life, humour and spirituality. The approximately 250 sculptures he produced during his lifetime are now eagerly sought after.