York University unveils massive Inuit carving on National Aboriginal Day

A massive granite carving by two Nunavut artists was unveiled at Toronto’s York University on Tuesday as part of National Aboriginal Day celebrations.

26-tonne granite boulder depicts the Inuit legend of a spirit playing soccer with a walrus skull

The piece depicts an Inuit legend about spirits playing soccer with a walrus skull. (York University)

A massive granite carving by two Nunavut artists was unveiled at Toronto's York University on Tuesday as part of National Aboriginal Day celebrations.

Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley and Ruben Komangapik spent more than 200 days sculpting the 26-tonne granite boulder into a figure depicting the Inuit legend of a spirit playing soccer with a walrus skull.

"I feel very humbled by the experience," said Ruben Komangapik.

"I've been part of a really great team, so I am really happy about today."   

The piece has not yet been finalized  the artists will continue to work on the sculpture after the official unveiling.

The design, called "Ahqahizu," was chosen to coincide with the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games events which took place at the university last summer, the occasion of National Aboriginal Day was chosen to unveil the final work.

Singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark, the first Inuk recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award also performed at the event. (York University)
The unveiling included a celebration of Indigenous culture and opened with traditional drum dancing.

Singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark, the first Inuk recipient of the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, also performed at the event.

Inspiring a new generation

Komangapik said that he hopes the sculpture will inspire the next generation of Inuit students.

The unveiling included a celebration of Indigenous culture and opened with traditional drum dancing. (York University)
"When they see this piece it will inspire them not to quit their studies and understand that we did not give up," said Komangapik.

The sculpture was designed to showcase Inuit art and culture.

"I really hope that this will bring our traditions more to light in Canadian society down here," said Komangapik.

The artist said that support from fans on social media helped him carry on with his work during hard times.