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Silas Qayaqjuaq Biography

SILAS QAYAQJUAQ     (Kayakjuak; Tagornak)     E5-1324


Born : February 2, 1956 - 2024

Place of Birth : Hall Beach, Nunavut

Resides : Ottawa, Ontario


Silas was born in 1956 in Hall Beach, Nunavut. He is the son of two artists, Joanisi and Martha Kayakjuak. He is trained as a construction carpenter. Silas learned to carve at an early age by watching other family members carving. He began to carve at the age of eight and produced his first serious carving when he was twelve. Natural talent, a keen eye for balance and movement in the human figure, experience of hunting and living on the land combine to give Silas’s work an appealing warmth and charm. Silas moved to Ottawa in the late 1980’s and carved up until his death in 2024.  Silas’ work is in collections all over the world and has been purchased for presentation to foreign dignitaries, music conductors, and art lovers alike from all walks of life. In 2006, he was a celebrated craftsperson in the Canada Day Aboriginal Village in Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa. Silas has participated as an active animator in the Inuit Activities Area at Confederation Park during Ottawa’s Winterlude Festivals.


Expositions :

1999                            Northern Rock, Contemporary Inuit Sculpture

      The McMichael Canadian Art Collection

       Kleinberg, Ontario.

2004-2005                   Miniatures INUIT

                                          Chalons-en-Champagne et Paris, France

2006                            In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun : Sami and Inuit Art

                                            Hamilton, Ontario & Fenno-Scandinavia

2008                            National Gallery of Canada,

                                               Ottawa, Ontario

2008-2009                   Music and Dance

                                            Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

2008 –2016                 Mini-Masterworks VI, 

                                               Spirit Wrestler Gallery,  Vancouver,  B.C.

2017                            Silas Qayaqjuaq - Twenty Years of Art

                                               The Snow Goose Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario

2018                            We’ll All Become Stories

                                                Ottawa Art Gallery/La Galerie d’art d’Ottawa



Collections :

The Eskimo Museum, Churchill, Manitoba

Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Galerie Brousseau et Brousseau, Quebec City, Québec

Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec

Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa


Selected References:

Brandson, Lorraine E. Carved from the Land: The Eskimo Museum Collection. Churchill, Manitoba: Diocese of

Churchill, Hudson Bay, 1994.

Fox, Matthew. “Silas Qayaqjuaq Wants to Share Ideas with Other Artists”, Interview in Inuktitut by Simeonie

Kunuk and in English by Matthew Fox en 1994; translated by Rhoda Kayakjuak, Inuit Art Quarterly: 10 (1), spring 1995 pp. 22-25

Gustavison, Susan J. Northern Rock – Contemporary Inuit Stone Sculpture from the McMichael Canadian Art

            Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario, 1999.

Malaurie, Jean. L’Art du Grand Nord. Citadelles et Mazenod, Paris, France, 2001.

Hessel, Ingo. Arctic Spirit : Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection at the Heard Museum. Heard Museum, Phoenix,

            Arizona. Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver, 2006.

Laugrand, Frédéric et Jarich Oosten. The Sea Woman. University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, Alaska, 2008.

Basciano, Rebecca. We’ll All Become Stories. Ottawa Art Gallery, 2018