2015 – Elias Semigak

Elias Semigak, is an Inuit carver originally from Nain, who is now based in Clarenville. His professional art practice began having observed his father, who taught him how to carve using wood at first before graduating to soapstone. Semigak uses a combination of hand and power tools to bring his subject matter to life from within the stone.

The Inuit belief that everything possesses a spirit or soul, and the strong connection between the animal, human, and spirit realms intrigues and inspires Semigak. Often rotating between small single-subject pieces, to larger more complex ones as well as deeply spiritual works, he allows the stone to guide the lengthily artistic carving process.

His work commonly combines multiple figures posed in experimental ways, and includes different types of stone. Semigak enjoys the harmonious (and sometimes not harmonious) effect that has. Bears feature prominently in his carvings as a result of his fondness for them.

Since 2004, he has been involved with 10 exhibitions, including Labrador on Waterford at Herb Brown’s Birches Gallery and four exhibitions hosted by the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. His work has been purchased for private collections and the provincial art gallery since 1998, and in 2008 he won the Juror’s Choice Award of Excellence presented by Devon House.

Semigak’s artistic vision is deeply rooted in the uniqueness of the natural, cultural, and spiritual world of his ancestors, while also embracing and exploring the contemporary cross-culture world of his own generation.

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