New documentary shines a spotlight on Inuit artists

Carved in Stone, a new documentary, explores the Inuit artists who have dedicated their lives to sharing their stories and culture through art.

Stone carvers, painters and filmmakers profiled in Carved in Stone: Sanannguaqtit

Joe Ashoona always wanted to be a stone carver like his grandfather. 'Being part of an Inuit art family that's been showcased in the art world, it just feels like it's second nature,' said Ashoona. (Fringe Filmworks)

Carved in Stone: Sanannguaqtit
Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, at 7 p.m. CT on CBC Manitoba

>> Watch online now

Inuit art has a long, celebrated history in Canada, but the artists themselves don't always receive the recognition.

Now, a new documentary released by CBC as part of the Absolutely Manitoba series titled Carved in Stone: Sanannguaqtit explores the Inuit artists who have dedicated their lives to sharing their stories and culture through art.

Kailey Sheppard, a multidisciplinary visual artist, puts the finishing touches on her second self-portrait. (Fringe Filmworks)

"It seems that artists are often lost behind their artwork, because you just see the art piece and a lot of people don't look much further than the art piece," says Kailey Sheppard, a multidisciplinary visual artist.

She's been commissioned by the Winnipeg Art Gallery to create several unique pieces for the WAG, which holds in trust more than 13,000 Inuit artworks and will open the gallery's Inuit Art Centre later this year.

Sheppard is just one of the voices featured in the documentary, which profiles established and emerging Inuit artists and their work. 

George Arlook learned the art of stone carving from his father when he was nine. (Fringe Filmworks)

Winnipeg-based George Arlook, who was taught by his father at the age of nine, and Nunavut's Ashoona family, known for four generations of artists and stone carvers, are profiled for their decades of contributions to the craft. Sheppard and Winnipeg filmmaker Jocelyn Piirainen are also featured as emerging artists already making their mark on the industry.

Watch Carved in Stone: Sanannguaqtit on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, at 7 p.m. CT on CBC television.