Jacob Irkok was skilled at carving stone as well as antler (see Lot 25), and his work in both media was much admired by his sculptor peers in Arviat. Irkok began carving flying and resting geese similar to these already in the early 1960s. His birds are streamlined but essentially naturalistic, especially in their movements. Irkok’s gift was his ability to capture his animal subjects’ natural grace with economy of form.
For similar examples of antler birds by this artist see Walker’s Auctions (May 2015, Lot 269 and Nov. 2016, Lot 168a). For examples of equally elegant antler caribou by Irkok (plus an artist photo and quotes) see Hessel, Arctic Spirit (Heard Museum, 2006) pp. 110-111.