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Adamie Ashevak was born at the nursing station in the community of Cape Dorset. He is the son of the renowned Cape Dorset artists Kenojuak and Johnniebo. Adamie's family was still living in an outpost camp at the time. The family moved into the community when Adamie was seven years old so that the children could attend school.
Adamie Ashevak began carving when he was ten or twelve years old. He learned from both his father and mother; they are famous for their graphic art, but are also accomplished sculptors. He became a serious carver at the age of eighteen. For several years Adamie had other sources of employment and income, and carving played a lesser role in his life. Now he carves as much as he can, even though he is currently employed full time.
Adamie Ashevak's favourite subjects are drum dancers and polar bears. He especially enjoys carving bears. Adamie has often had the opportunity to observe polar bears while seal hunting; this has given him the intimate knowledge of their physique, habits and movement. Adamie used to accompany his father Johnniebo on bear hunting trips when he was a child. Strict quotas now limit bear hunting through a lottery system. In any case, Adamie is more interested in carving bears than hunting them. He considers them to be among the most beautiful animals in the world, and respects their strength and intelligience. Adamie has carved several other arctic animals as well. He likes to capture movement in his work, regardless of the subject matter his is working on.
Adamie Ashevak prefers to work on a medium to large scale, but has worked on a smaller scale since his move to Ottawa, as it is more difficult to obtain northern stone in the south. Years ago Adamie carved in the beautiful and soft Markham Bay serpentine, quarried about 100 miles east of Cape Dorset. Now carvers work a harder stone quarried about 20 miles closer, and Adamie uses that stone whenever it is available. He occasionally carves strawberry alabaster available commercially in the south. Although he likes alabaster because it is easy to work, he prefers serpentine because he considers it to be a higher quality material. Unlike many Inuit carvers, Adamie often has a subject in mind, and will look for an appropriately shaped piece of stone. Adamie is not eager to carve in ivory, whalebone or antler because he does not want to be perceived as someone who kills for carving materials. He prefers not to have to deal with those issues.
Adamie Ashevak used to carve exclusively with hand tools such as axes and files. He now uses power tools such as disc grinders for roughing out, as well as Dremels, files and rasps for finer work. All finishing and polishing is done by hand.
Adamie Ashevak admires the work of Cape Dorset artist Nuna Parr. In fact, Nuna gave Adamie pointers on carving bears when they spent time together hunting and camping on the land one summer several years ago. Adamie feels that he has now worked out his own carving style. Adamie credits Hall Beach carver Silas Qayakyuak with helping him understand more about carving and the human figure.
Adamie Ashevak is married to Ooloosie, the daughter of Cape Dorset artist Mikisiti Saila, and they have five children. His two oldest sons have experimented with carving. Adamie's brother, Arnaquq, is also an artist in Cape Dorset.
Adamie Ashevak moved to Ottawa n the summer of 1995 so that his children could take advantage of the schooling opportunities. He was employed as a researcher at the Canadian Inuit Art Information Centre of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Adamie moved his family back to Cape Dorset to fulfill his mother's wishes of having someone to take her out onto the land during spring and summer. On August 28, 1996, he arrived back in Cape Dorset.
Also known as Alareak.
Born on July 24, 1959 in Cape Dorset, NU. Nationality is Inuit
1999 Inuit Art and Nova Scotian Art, Houston North Gallery, Lunenburg, NS
1997 Stone & Bone: The Inuit Master Carvers of the Canadian Arctic, Sun Valley Centre for the Arts and Humanities, Ketchum, ID
1997 Stories in Stone: A Canadian Inuit Art Exhibition held for a trade mission to Korea lead by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Seoul, Korea
1996 New Visions, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1987 Cape Dorset Sculpture Eskimo Art Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Musee d'art Inuit Brousseau, Quebec City, PQ
2005 Cape Dorset Sculpture FEATURED PAGE 62, 63