Jaco Ishulutaq was born in a camp near a mountain called Usualuk in 1951 and grew up in a camp at Tuapaq before moving to Qimmiksumi as a teenager. As a young man, Ishulutaq and his family settled in the nearby community of Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), NU . Ishulutaq began making art at the age of sixteen, encouraged by his mother and well-known graphic artist, Elisapee Ishulutaq. He learned to carve by observing his grandfather who had adopted him in a customary adoption . Ishulutaq works in a variety of mediums such as antler, ivory, whalebone, and soapstone. He has also experimented with graphic art, illustrating his grandfather’s stories for the archives at the Uqqurmiut Centre, as well as making drawings to be used as templates by printmakers and weavers in Panniqtuuq . Strengthening Inuit stories, values and “depicting how one should live life” is the primary motivation of Ishulutaq’s art . One of his favourite subject matters is the sea goddess Sedna whom he carves in order to pass on her story . He has also passed down knowledge through the mentorship of young artists in his community during the creation of a large granite monument for the turbot fishery in Panniqtuuq in 2015 . Ishulutaq is now one of the most well-known and prolific artists in Panniqtuuq. In 2012, Ishulutaq had a landmark solo show, Stories from the North, at the Museum of Inuit Art in Toronto. In 2018, Ishulutuq was awarded the Nunavut Commissioners’ Arts award to recognize his contribution to the visual arts of Nunavut. Ishulutuq has also served on the board of directors for the Nunavut Art and Crafts Association. In addition to his work as an artist, Ishulutaq instructs wilderness survival courses and volunteered for the local rescue and security team, the Pangnirtung Rangers .
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