Eli Nasogaluak

North Slave

Artist Story

My brothers and I grew up on a little isolated island (in Tuktoyaktuk) with no power or electricity. We didn’t have many distractions there and drawing gave us something to do. There was no capturing of images with cameras in those days, so it was all just mental images that we put down on paper. I never knew it was part of our training until we grew up.

We were blessed with a lot of logs piling up on shore from Mackenzie River since we had no trees. In the early years, we did driftwood carvings, making boats and stuff. We would also sit and watch others in Tuktoyaktuk, who used mostly antlers and bones. It intrigued us. In my early teens, I did a few carvings. They sold very well because I had a sister who ran a coffee shop on the mainland who catered to tourists. That’s how I started.

Today, I am still not a prolific carver but I do try to embody the spirit of the piece each time. I can see where my faith and spirituality are reflected in my artwork. The rock says, speaking through my creativity, that the creator has put me here to create through him, the ultimate creator. The North is everything in the art I create. It is our lives and carving these images is a reflection of our lives at that time. I love the appreciation people have when they receive and understand a piece of art. I love the joy when I am able to share what is inside my heart.

Artist Bio: 

Eli was born in Tuktoyaktuk, NT. Eli began carving at an early age, began selling 9 years ago and is now considered one of the most highly regarded artists in the north. Using his art to express who he is and how he perceives life, Eli challenges the viewer to feel and experience his Inuvialuit identity. A story of his art career was recently featured by ICS Television. He and brothers, Bill and Joe took first prize at Canada's Snow Sculpture Competition for their spectacular carving called After Ragnarok. Eli's primary activity is Stone Sculpture , as well as Painting, drawing .

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

Artist Gallery