Born on June 11, 1941 in a small camp south of Puvirnituq, Thomassiapik Sivuarapik was the son of Charlie Sheeg, one of Nunavik’s most celebrated carvers.
Strongly influenced by his father, Sivuarapik was encouraged to carve at a young age. His uncle Isah Qumalu Sivuarapik was also an accomplished carver, as was his cousin Joshua Sivuarapik.
Working strictly in stone for the greater part of his artistic career, Sivuarapik occasionally incorporated materials such as wood, bone, and sinew into his sculptures.
Dealing with a wide-range of subject matter, Sivuarapik’s work ranges from simple portrayals of wildlife to complex visualizations of Inuit legends. Many of his works touch upon stories that were previously recounted in his father’s carvings, such as Amaruruuqtuq, the Woman Who Turned Into a Wolf, and multiple representations of the Legend of the Giant. Sivuarapik also incorporated a handful of personal recollections into his repertoire, although he is best known for his fluid depictions of otters.
A leader in his community, Sivuarapik was a spokesperson for many issues. He was instrumental in establishing a hospital in the region and also served as an activist opposing the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. Sivuarapik also participated in the annual Ivakkak dog sled race every year since its inception in 2001, where he took first place.
Selected by members of the Puvirnituq Co-operative, Sivuarapik spent four months in Montreal, where he gave carving demonstrations in the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ’67.
Sivuarapik’s artwork has been featured in countless exhibitions nationally, and has also been included in prominent international shows in New York, Japan, and Sweden. His sculpture is held in private collections world-wide and in prestigious national collections such as those at the Saputik Cultural Centre, the Indian and Inuit Art Collection at the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Toronto–Dominion Bank Collection, and the Royal Ontario Museum.
1997 Inuit Artists’ Biographies. Gatineau: Inuit Art Section, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.