Contemporary Inuit Art is deeply embedded in a culture which has survived the harsh Arctic environment for thousands of years. In the 1950’s, Inuit peoples began to settle in permanent communities. By the 1960’s, Inuit Co-operatives were being established throughout the Canadian Arctic and the Inuit art market began to flourish. As well as providing much needed income in isolated Arctic communities, Inuit sculpture now has an international reputation as a major contemporary art form. Popular themes include animals, hunters, family scenes and shamanistic and mythological images.
The artists carve using hand tools such as axes and files. The final stage of carving is the polishing, which is done with several grades of waterproof sandpaper. Over the past decade many artists have developed a preference for creating highly polished sculpture made of serpentine.