Mattiusi Iyaituk, Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec
Mattiusi Iyaituk sold his first sculpture for two dollars at the age of 14. Then he immediately began to dream of making a living from his art, without imagining that one day he would be exhibited in the greatest museums in the world, and would go to teach master classes in Siberia, China, the United States and France.
All these trips have allowed this man from the Far North to see that artists in the South are asking themselves a lot of questions and making a lot of plans before getting to work. For his part, he intensely observes the stone he has gathered through dangerous expeditions, just as a hunter studying his prey. The only question he asks is addressed to himself, imperatively: tell me! Then his hands find the path of words dictated by the stone, expressing his ideas, revealing parts of his story, and the stories of his people transmitted by his parents and elders whose voices mingle with the wind and fire of his memory.
When the form of stone has nothing to say, he leaves it alone. He has thus gone from figurative to abstraction, distinguishing himself by his ability to innovate without betraying tradition or abandoning ancestral techniques. He is delighted that by looking at his highly stylized works, one does not understand everything. It's his way of letting us dream.
Translated by Michel Patry.
Mattiusi Iyaituk was appointed to the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec at a special awards ceremony held on May 28, 2018 This link will open in a new window. The tribute that was paid to him was translated in inuktitut with the help of Avataq Cultural Institute. The CALQ thanks Louis Gagnon, Director of the Museology Department at Avataq Cultural Institute, for his assistance.
The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec would like to thank the Caisse de la Culture and Le Devoir, which partnered for the award of this honour.