Artist’s Legal Name: Ben (Benjamin) Illauq
Rarely signs his art. When he does he uses his syllabic initials. He tries to make every piece different so that he can recognize his own pieces. Now he takes photos of his works.
Artist lives in: Maniwaki area in the province of Quebec
Community artist is from: Kangirtugaapik, Clyde River, Nunavut
Cultural Activities participation:
When he was growing up, Ben travelled on the land a good part of the time, at all seasons of the year . He became very skilled in all kinds of cultural skills, from hunting and trapping, to travelling, from story teilling to food preparation, from walking on the land to qimmusiq over the ice, fo surviving on breaking ice to guiding photographers into the fiords. Today Ben continues to practice his land skills in a southern forest context and is bringing up his family in an Inuit way.
Categories of art practiced:
All kinds of needed items, whether he has a pattern to start with or not. Ben specializes in custom fitting tools, knives, kayaks, and other pieces to fit people’s hands, their build, and the use of the items.
Preferred materials & subjects: Steel, Ivory, Bone
Year of Birth: 1985
Profession or Work: Building Contractor
Ben grew up in Clyde River, hunting and travelling with his father, Jushua Illauq and going camping with his family through the spring and summer months. He also worked from the time he was 13 with his father as a guide and an interpreter for Qullikkut Guides and Outfitters, his family’s guiding business.
“I learned from my father how to do things and to create things for all the hunting necessities. I didn’t start to do the artistic part until I understood what worked design-wise. I would have to say I got that in my early days from my mother and my school teachers. When you really understand the integrity of a design, and the material you’re working with, then you can become artistic with it, and make it conform to your vision of it. Befpre I start an item whether it’s a building or a tool or a sculpture, I see it. Then I make it. “
“I create things by going off of memory and think about a piece from all directions and then create.The arts are primarily about stories from the past , being realized for the future.”
Distribution and sale of works: Ben Illauq works primarily on pieces commissioned by people he meets.