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Joe Talirunili (1893-1976)

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Joe Talirunili Biography

(b. Neahungnuk, Nunavik 1906; d. Puvirnituq, Qué 13 September 1976) Inuit sculptor, printmaker. Joe Talirunili was born between the years 1893-1906. Talirunili believed 1906 was his date of birth, but written records state otherwise. Born in the Neahungnuk camp near the Great Whale River (north of Puvirnituq, Nunavic in Arctic Quebec), Talirunili’s work is inspired by his Inuit culture and his life experiences. As one of the founding members of the Puvirnituq print shop, he is known for his printmaking and even more so for his sculpture. Using materials that are available to him, he does not plan or sketch his sculptures beforehand. This makes his work more abstract and rough than typical Puvirnituq sculpture. His most well known works come from his Migration series. As a young child he was in an actual migration from an island in Hudson Bay to the mainland in a small umiak boat made of wood, sealskin and rope. The ice melted around their boat, causing many people to be lost at sea. This traumatic event inspired his emotionally charged, bold pieces. Talirunili focused more on sculpture in the 1950’s and later shifted more to graphics in the 1960’s. Talirunili died on September 13, 1976. He produced the majority of his work during the last fifteen years of his life. * (*Credit: Heffel, Vancouver, Fall 2008 Live Auction, November 19, 2008, Lot 69.)

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