Henry Evaluardjuk (1923-2007)
Pond Inlet & Iqaluit
“From Igloolik we moved to Pond Inlet. It was there that I started to carve. A white man there said that my uncle and one other man were the only people who carved in this settlement. I told him I knew I could carve too if I tried … I have been carving since then.
“In 1959 I came to Iqaluit from Pond Inlet. I helped to get the Co-op started and remained working there for three years. When I was working for the government at the Arts & Crafts [Centre], I was introduced to painting. When I was a boy I used to draw many pictures. My father got pencils for me from the white men. I enjoy painting.”
Henry Evaluardjuk, a true Arctic character and legend, was renowned for his realistic carved portrayals of polar bears that were always affectionately referred to as "Henry Bears". Over many years I have had fun moments sitting with him watching him carve as he chiseled and filed away the stone, with a cigarette in his mouth, glasses perched on the end of his nose, and a mischievous smile on his face. We have represented many of his sculptures through decades as there has always been an unprecedented demand for his sculptures, especially his polar bears. Henry although noted for his bears, could carve almost any Arctic animal or bird with extraordinary anatomical accuracy, but he was also known among collectors for his realistic portrait-like busts of Inuit. Since 1961, he has had his sculptures exhibited in many group and solo exhibitions, included in many corporate and museum collections, through out Canada, USA and Europe, as well as documented in numerous catalogues and books.