Mother and Son, 1970
31.4 x 15 x 19.9 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Faye and Bert Settler
In 1963 George Tatanniq began carving the hard, black stone found near Baker Lake, and his work was included in the exhibition Eskimo Carvers of the Keewatin, N.W.T organized the following year by the WAG. This show was the first to reveal the results of a newly established carving project in Baker Lake. Tatanniq’s style reflects the general Baker Lake aesthetic of solid volumes rather than surface detail and negative space. However, his subjects are stylized and elegant. Surfaces are polished to a smooth sheen, and volumes are defined by straight rather than round or undulating lines. Rather than using the more conventional mother-and-child composition (such as a child tucked into the back of the mother’s parka), he shows a small boy held upright in front of the mother to urinate. But the refined and dignified figures speak more to the universal bond of mother and child than to the specific action taking place.