Festival Info > Artists > Special Guest Artist


Special Guest for this year's Festival to
be announced May 2016


Past Special Guests:



In conjunction with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the 2015 Great Northern Arts Festival is pleased  to feature master sculptor, Abraham Anghik Ruben. 


The art of Inuvialuit artist Abraham Anghik Ruben (b. 1951) portrays journeys of exploration, migration,  and displacement through voyages across time and place, and into the spiritual realm. In these recent  sculptures, Ruben contrasts the ancient lives of two northern peoples-Norse adventurers and Inuvialuit  whale hunters-guiding us to a new perspective on the complex history of the Arctic; a history shaped by movement, contact, and change. Working in stone, whalebone and ivory, Ruben creates sculptures that  speak to “ancient voices from a time when these two northern peoples held a reverence for the land 

Born in a camp near Paulatuk, Ruben spent his early childhood traveling with his family across vast  expanses of land and sea, hunting caribou, polar bear, musk-oxen and beluga whales, and “living to the  ancient rhythms of life passed down through the generations.” Abraham’s quest to reconnect with his past found artistic form in 1971 when he attended the Native Arts Centre at the University of Alaska studying under Ronald Senungetuk. Throughout the 1970s Abraham pursued a career as an artist working in the varied media of sculpture, jewelry, prints and drawings. He would soon catch the attention of art dealers across Canada including Jack Pollock who showed his sculptures at his gallery in Toronto in a series of solo exhibitions.

In 1986 Abraham moved to Salt Spring Island where he continues to live and work with his wife Patricia Donnelly and their children. Since that time, Abraham’s interests in exploring the stories, myths and legends of his ancestors have found artistic form in a multitude of works, which have been exhibited and collected internationally. His quest has also led in recent years to the exploration of other cultures and people who inhabited the Northern hemisphere.

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